Skip to main content

Full text of "People known as The Great"

See other formats

people known as The Great 

List of people known as The Great 

PDF generated using the open source mwlib toolkit. See for more information. 
PDF generated at: Tue, 01 May 2012 15:38:46 UTC 



List of people known as The Great 1 

Rulers 5 

Abbas I of Persia 5 

Akbar 18 

Alain I of Albret 41 

Alexander the Great 43 

Alexander I of Georgia 76 

Alfonso III of Leon 78 

Alfred the Great 80 

Antiochus III the Great 101 

Ashoka 107 

Ashot I of Iberia 121 

Askia Mohammad I 123 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 125 

Boleslaw I Chrobry 147 

Bruno the Great 159 

BuddhaYodfaChulaloke 161 

Cnut the Great 168 

Casimir III the Great 187 

Catherine the Great 193 

Chandragupta II 221 

Charlemagne 226 

Chulalongkorn 258 

Chlothar II 266 

Conrad, Margrave of Meissen 268 

Constantine the Great 270 

Cyaxares the Great 302 

Cyrus the Great 305 

Darius I 325 

Devapala 337 

Dionysius I of Syracuse 340 

Ferdinand I of Leon and Castile 344 

Frederick the Great 350 

Genghis Khan 366 

Gero 393 

Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden 397 

Gwanggaeto the Great 406 

Hanno the Great 411 

Henry I, Duke of Burgundy 413 

Henry IV of France 413 

Herod the Great 426 

Hugh the Great 438 

Hugh Magnus 439 

Hugh I, Count of Vermandois 440 

Humphrey I de Bohun 442 

Ivan III of Russia 443 

John I of Portugal 450 

John II of Aragon 453 

Justinian I 456 

Kamehameha I 472 

Kanishka 480 

Kvirike III of Kakheti 49 1 

Kublai Khan 492 

Llywelyn the Great 510 

Louis I of Hungary 523 

Mangrai the Great 534 

Emperor Meiji 536 

Mircea I of Wallachia 548 

Mithridates II of Parthia 55 1 

Mithridates VI of Pontus 552 

Mstislav I of Kiev 560 

Naresuan 562 

Narai 568 

Odo the Great 574 

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor 575 

K'inich Janaab' Pakal 597 

Parakramabahu I of Polonnaruwa 601 

Peter Kresimir IV of Croatia 616 

Peter the Great 621 

Peter III of Aragon 632 

Pompey 637 

Radama I 649 

Raja Raja Chola I 652 

Rajendra Chola I 665 

Ramesses II 675 

Ram Khamhaeng 689 

Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona 693 

Rhodri the Great 695 

Roman the Great 697 

Saladin 702 

Samudragupta 724 

Sancho III of Navarre 727 

S argon of Akkad 731 

Sejong the Great 739 

Shapur II 747 

Simeon I of Bulgaria 750 

Stephen III of Moldavia 763 

Stephen Uros IV Dusan of Serbia 77 1 

Taksin 782 

Timur 796 

Theobald II, Count of Champagne 813 

Theodoric the Great 815 

Theodosius I 820 

Tigranes the Great 828 

Tiridates III of Armenia 833 

Umar 837 

Valdemar I of Denmark 858 

Valentinian I 861 

Vladimir the Great 869 

Vytautas 877 

William I, Count of Burgundy 883 

William V, Duke of Aquitaine 884 

Xerxes I of Persia 886 

Yu the Great 893 

Religious figures 898 

Abraham the Great of Kashkar 898 

Abraham Kidunaia 899 

Albertus Magnus 900 

Anthony the Great 907 

Babai the Great 914 

Basil of Caes area 918 

Euthymius the Great 928 

Gertrude the Great 930 

Pope Gregory I 93 1 

Hiyya the Great 946 

Pope John Paul II 947 

Pope Leo I 979 

Macarius of Egypt 986 

Pope Nicholas I 989 

Photios I of Constantinople 993 

William of Maleval 1001 

Other 100 4 

Beli Mawr 1004 

Emmy the Great 1006 

Matteo Rosso Orsini 1010 

Prokop the Great 1011 


Article Sources and Contributors 1013 

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 1036 

Article Licenses 

License 1054 

List of people known as The Great 

List of people known as The Great 

This is a list of people whose names in English are commonly appended with the phrase "the Great", or who were 
called that or an equivalent phrase in their own language. Other languages have their own suffixes such as e Bozorg 
and e azam in Persian and Urdu respectively. 

In Persia, the title "the Great" at first seems to be a colloquial version of the Old Persian title "Great King". This title 
was first used by the conqueror Cyrus II of Persia. 

The Persian title was inherited by Alexander III of Macedon (336—323 BC) when he conquered the Persian Empire, 
and the epithet "Great" eventually became personally associated with him. The first reference (in a comedy by 
Plautus) assumes that everyone knew who "Alexander the Great" was; however, there is no earlier evidence that 
Alexander III of Macedon was called "the Great" . 

The early Seleucid kings, who succeeded Alexander in Persia, used "Great King" in local documents, but the title 
was most notably used for Antiochus the Great (223—187 BC). 

Later rulers and commanders began to use the epithet "the Great" as a personal name, like the Roman general 
Pompey. Others received the surname retrospectively, like the Carthaginian Hanno and the Indian emperor Ashoka 
the Great. Once the surname gained currency, it was also used as an honorific surname for people without political 
careers, like the philosopher Albert the Great. 

As there are no objective criteria for "greatness", the persistence of later generations in using the designation greatly 
varies. For example, Louis XIV of France was often referred to as "The Great" in his lifetime but is rarely called 
such nowadays, while Frederick II of Prussia is still called "The Great". A later Hohenzollern - Wilhelm I - was often 
called "The Great" in the time of his grandson Wilhelm II, but rarely later. 


Abbas I of Persia (1571-1629), Shah of Iran 

Akbar (1542—1605), ruler of the Mughal Empire of South Asia, mainly India 

Alain I of Albret (1440-1522), French aristocrat 

Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), King of Macedonia, Persia, Greece, Egypt, and all of Mesopotamia 

Alexander I of Georgia (1386—1446), King of Georgia 

Alfonso III of Leon (c. 848-910), King of Leon, Galicia and Asturias 

Alfred the Great (848/849-899), King of Wessex 

Antiochus III the Great (c. 241—187 BC), ruler of the Seleucid Empire 

Ashoka the Great (c. 304—232 BC), Indian emperor of the Maurya dynasty 

Ashot I of Iberia "the Great"(died 826/830), presiding prince of Iberia (modern Georgia), 

Askia Mohammad I (c. 1442—1538), ruler of the Songhai Empire 

Bhumibol Adulyadej (born 1927), King of Thailand 

Boleslaw I Chrobry (967-1025), sometimes called "the Great", first King of Poland 

Bruno the Great (925—965), Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lotharingia (also listed in the following section) 

Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (1736—1809), founder and ruler of the Rattanakosin Kingdom (in what is now Thailand) 

Cnut the Great (c. 985 or 995-1035), King of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden 

Casimir III the Great (1310-1370), King of Poland 

Catherine the Great (1729—1796), Empress of Russia 

Chandragupta II (reigned 375-413/415), also known as Vikramaditya, ruler of the Gupta empire in India 

Charlemagne (died 8 14), King of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans 

Chulalongkorn (1853-1910), King of Siam (now Thailand) 

Chlothar II (584-629), King of Neustria and King of the Franks 

List of people known as The Great 

Conrad, Margrave of Meissen (c. 1097-1157), Margrave of Meissen 

Constantine I (c. 272-337), Roman emperor 

Cyaxares the Great (c. 625-585 BC), third king of Media 

Cyrus the Great (c. 600 BC or 576 BC— 530 BC), founder and ruler of the Persian or Achaemenid Empire 

Darius the Great (550 — 486 BC), third ruler of the Persian Empire 

Devapala (died 850), ruler of the Pala Empire in the Indian subcontinent 

Dionysius I, Greek tyrant of Syracuse 

Ferdinand I of Leon and Castile (c. 1015—1065), King of Leon and Count of Castile 

Frederick the Great (1712—1786), King of Prussia 

Genghis Khan (1 1627-1227), founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire 

Gero (c. 900—965), ruler of Marca Geronis, a very large march in Europe 

Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (1594—1632), King of Sweden, founder of the Swedish Empire, and noted military 


Gwanggaeto the Great, King of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea 

Hanno the Great, the name of three leaders of Carthage, in the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd centuries BC 

Henry I, Duke of Burgundy (946-1002) 

Henry IV of France (1553—1610), King of France and King of Navarre 

Herod the Great (73/74 BC-4 BC), King of Judea 

Hugh the Great (898-956), Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris 

Hugh Magnus of France (1007—1025), co-King of France 

Hugh I, Count of Vermandois (1057-1101) 

Humphrey I de Bohun (died c. 1 123), Anglo-Norman aristocrat 

Ivan III of Russia (1440-1505), Tsar of Russia 

John I of Portugal (1358—1433), King of Portugal and the Algarve 

John II of Aragon (1398—1479), King of Aragon and, through his wife, King of Navarre 

Justinian I (483-565), Byzantine Emperor 

Kamehameha I (c. 1758-1819), first King of Hawai'i 

Kanishka (died c. 127), ruler of the Kushan Empire in Central Asia and parts of India 

Kvirike III of Kakheti (1010—1029), King of Kakheti in eastern Georgia 

Kublai Khan (1215—1294), Mongol ruler in the 13th century and Emperor of China; founder of the Yuan Dynasty 

Llywelyn the Great (c. 1 172—1240), Prince of Gwynedd and de facto ruler of most of Wales 

Louis I of Hungary (1326—1382), King of Hungary, Croatia and Poland 

Mangrai the Great (1238—1317), Lanna, northern Thailand 

Emperor Meiji (1852—1912), Emperor of Japan 

Mircea I of Wallachia (1355-1418) 

Mithridates II of Parthia (died 88 BC), ruler of the Parthian Empire (in present day Iran) 

Mithridates VI of Pontus (134 BC— 63 BC), ruler of Pontus and the Bosporan Kingdom 

Mstislav I of Kiev (1076-1 132), Grand Prince of Kievan Rus 

Naresuan (1555-1605), King of Ayutthaya 

Narai (1633—1688), King of Ayutthaya (in what is now modern Thailand) 

Odo the Great (died c. 735), Duke of Aquitaine 

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor (912-973) 

Kinich Janaab' Pakal (603-683), ruler of the Mayan city-state of Palenque 

Parakramabahu I of Polonnaruwa (1 123— 1 186), King of Sri Lanka 

Peter Kresimir IV of Croatia (died 1075), King of Croatia 

Peter the Great (1672-1725), Tsar of Russia 

Peter III of Aragon (1239—1285), King of Aragon and King of Sicily 

List of people known as The Great 

Pompey (106 BC-48 BC), military and political leader of the late Roman Republic, rival of Julius Caesar 

Radama I (1793—1828), first king of greater Madagascar 

Raja Raja Chola I (c. 947-1014), Indian emperor of the Cholas. [6][7][8] 

Rajendra Chola I (reigned 1014—1044), Tamil King of India 

Ramesses II (reigned 1279 BC — 1213 BC), considered the greatest pharaoh of Ancient Egypt 

Ram Khamhaeng (around 1237 to 1247-1298), King of Sukhothai (in present day Thailand) 

Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona (1082—1131), also Count of Provence and various other counties 

Rhodri the Great (c. 820—878), King of Gwynedd (in present day Wales) 

Roman the Great (after 1160-1205), Grand Prince of Kiev 

Saladin (c. 1 138-1 193), Kurdish Sultan of Egypt and Syria, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, and victor over the 


Samudragupta (c. 335—375), ruler of the Gupta empire in the Indian subcontinent 

Sancho III of Navarre (c. 992-1035), King of Kingdom of Navarre 

Sargon of Akkad (died c. 2215 BC), ruler of the Akkadian Empire 

Sejong the Great (1397-1450), Korean king [9] 

Shapur II (309-379), king of the Sassanid Empire, Persia 

Simeon I of Bulgaria (864/865-927), ruler of the First Bulgarian Empire 

Stephen III of Moldavia (1433-1504), Prince of Moldavia (Romania) 

Stephen Uros IV Dusan of Serbia (c. 1308-1355), King of Serbia and Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks 

Taksin (1734—1782), King of the Thonburi Kingdom (Thailand) 

Tamar (1 160-1 123), Queen of the Georgian Empire 

Timur (1336—1405), better known as Tamerlane, founder of the Timurid Dynasty 

Theobald II, Count of Champagne (1090—1151), Count of Blois and of Chartres as Theobald IV, Count of 

Champagne and of Brie 

Theodoric the Great (454-526), King of the Ostrogoths, regent of the Visigoths and a viceroy of the Byzantine 


Theodosius I (347-395), Roman emperor 

Tigranes the Great (140-55 BC), Emperor of Armenia 

Tiridates III of Armenia (285-339), King of Armenia 

Umar (c. 586 to 590—644), second caliph of the Muslim Empire 

Valdemar I of Denmark (1131—1182), King of Denmark 

Valentinian I (364-375), Roman Emperor 

Vladimir I of Kiev (c. 958-1015), ruler of Kievan Rus 

Vytautas (c. 1350-1430), archduke of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy 

William I, Count of Burgundy (1020—1087), Count of Burgandy and Macon 

William V, Duke of Aquitaine (969-1030), also Count of Poitou 

Xerxes I (519-465 BC), King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire (Persia) 

Yu the Great (c. 2200-2100 BC), legendary ruler in ancient China 

List of people known as The Great 

Religious figures 

Abraham the Great of Kashkar (ca. 492-586), monk and saint of the Assyrian Church of the East 

Abraham Kidunaia (died c. 366, hermit, priest, and Christian saint of Mesopotamia 

Albertus Magnus (1 193/1206— 1280), medieval German philosopher and theologian 

Anthony the Great (c. 251—356), early Christian saint of Egypt 

Babai the Great (c. 551—628), Assyrian church leader 

Basil of Caesarea (330-379), Greek bishop and theologian 

Bruno the Great (925—965), Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lotharingia (also listed in the previous section) 

Euthymius the Great (377-473), abbot and Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox saint 

Gertrude the Great (1256-c. 1302), German Benedictine, mystic, theologian and Roman Catholic saint 

Pope Gregory I (c. 540-604) 

Hiyya the Great, 3rd-century rabbi, Palestine 

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) 

Pope Leo I (c. 391 or 400-461) 

Macarius of Egypt (c. 300-391), Egyptian hermit 

Pope Nicholas I (c. 800-867) 

Photius I of Constantinople (c. 810— c. 893), Eastern Orthodox saint and Patriarch of Constantinople 

William of Maleval (died 1 157), founder of the Catholic congregation of Williamites 


• Beli Mawr, a figure in medieval Welsh literature and genealogies 

• Emmy the Great, folk singer 

• Matteo Rosso the Great, Roman politician and father of Pope Nicholas III 

• Prokop the Great, Hussite general in Bohemia 


[1] In a clay cylinder ( online ( The expression was used in a propagandistic 

context: the conqueror wants to show he is a normal Babylonian ruler. The first Persian ruler to use the title in an Iranian context was Darius I 
of Persia (Darius the Great), in the Behistun Inscription ( online ( 

[2] Plautus, Mostellaria 775. 

[3] History, Instituto Geografico De Agostini S.p.A., p. 479 

[4] World and Its Peoples.Korea. Marshall Cavendish Corporation. September 2008. p. 887. ISBN 0-7614-7631-8. 

[5] Alison Behnke (2004). North Korea in Pictures ("Gwanggaeto+ 
the+Great"). Twenty-First Century Books, p. 70. ISBN 0-8225-1908-9. . 

[6] Sarkar, Benoy Kumar (December 1919). "An English History of India". Political Science Quarterly 34 (4): 644-653. doi: 10.2307/2142032. 
JSTOR 2142032. ""The finances of the state were not more centralized under Louis XIV than under Rajaraja the Great."" 

[7] "Heaven sent: Michael Wood explores the art of the Chola dynasty" ( 
heven-sent,47,RAMA.html). Royal Academy, UK. . Retrieved 2007-04-26. 

[8] "The Chola Dynasty: Accession of Rajaraja, the Great" ( php?id=13219885). . Retrieved 

[9] Christoph Bluth; Gareth Schott (2007). Korea. Polity, p. 10. ISBN 0-7456-3356-0. 


Abbas I of Persia 

Shah 'Abbas I 


■ ■ 



Shah of Iran 


1 October 1587 - 19 January 


(41 years, 110 days) 


Mohammad I 






Mohammed Khodabanda 


Khayr al-Nisa Begum 


27 January 1571 
Herat, Iran 

Died 19 January 1629 (aged 57) 

Mazandaran, Iran 

Religion Shia Islam 

Shah 'Abbas the Great (or Shah 'Abbas I) (Persian: ^f,^ ^Lc <>Li) (January 27, 1571 — January 19, 1629) was Shah 
(king) of Iran, and generally considered the greatest ruler of the Safavid dynasty. He was the third son of Shah 



Abbas came to the throne during a troubled time for Iran. Under his weak-willed father, the country was riven with 
discord between the different factions of the Qizilbash army, who killed Abbas' mother and elder brother. 
Meanwhile, Iran's enemies, the Ottoman Empire and the Uzbeks, exploited this political chaos to seize territory for 
themselves. In 1587, one of the Qizilbash leaders, Murshid Qoli Khan, overthrew Shah Mohammed in a coup and 
placed the 16-year-old Abbas on the throne. But Abbas was no puppet and soon seized power for himself. He 
reduced the influence of the Qizilbash in the government and the military and reformed the army, enabling him to 
fight the Ottomans and Uzbeks and reconquer Iran's lost provinces. He also took back land from the Portuguese and 
the Mughals. Abbas was a great builder and moved his kingdom's capital from Qazvin to Isfahan. In his later years, 
the shah became suspicious of his own sons and had them killed or blinded. 

Abbas I of Persia 

Early years 

Abbas was born in Herat (now in Afghanistan, then one of the two 

chief cities of Khorasan) to the royal prince Mohammed Khodabanda 

and his wife Khayr al-Nisa Begum (known as "Mahd-i Ulya"), the 

daughter of the governor of Mazandaran province, who claimed 

descent from the fourth Shi'a Imam Zayn al-Abidin. At the time of 

his birth, Abbas' grandfather Shah Tahmasp I was ruler of Iran. Abbas' 

parents gave him to be nursed by Khani Khan Khanum, the mother of 

the governor of Herat, Ali Qoli Khan Shamlu. When Abbas was four, 

Tahmasp sent his father to stay in Shiraz where the climate was better 

for Mohammed's fragile health. Tradition dictated that at least one 

prince of the royal blood should reside in Khorasan, so Tahmasp made Abbas nominal governor of the province, 

despite his young age, and Abbas was left behind in Herat. 

Shah Abbas I and his court. 


In 1578, Abbas' father became Shah of Iran. Abbas' mother soon came to dominate the government, but she had little 
time for Abbas, preferring to promote the interests of his elder brother Hamza. The queen antagonised leaders of the 
powerful Qizilbash army, who plotted against her and strangled her in July, 1579. Mohammed was a weak ruler who 
was incapable of preventing Iran's rivals, the Ottoman Empire and the Uzbeks, invading the country or stopping 
factional feuding among the Qizilbash. The young crown prince Hamza was more promising and led a campaign 
against the Ottomans, but he was murdered in mysterious circumstances in 1586. Attention now turned to 


[5] [6] 

At the age of 14, Abbas had come under the power of Murshid Qoli Khan, one of the leaders of the Qizilbash in 
Khorasan. When a large Uzbek army invaded Khorasan in 1587, Murshid decided the time was right to overthrow 
the ineffectual Shah Mohammed. He rode to the Safavid capital Qazvin with the young prince and proclaimed him 
king. Mohammed made no protest against his deposition and handed the royal insignia over to his son on 1 October 
1587. Abbas was 16 years old 

[7] [8] 

Abbas I of Persia 

Absolute monarch 

Abbas takes control 


/""} Viyslul Svmdin Czmhyps, Mnemam Cjrn 

Shah 'Abbas King of the Persians. 

Copper engraving by Dominicus Custos, from his Atrium 

heroicum Caesarum pub. 1600-1602. 

The kingdom Abbas inherited was in a desperate state. The 
Ottomans had seized vast territories in the west and the 
north-west (including the major city of Tabriz) and the 
Uzbeks had overrun half of Khorasan in the north-east. Iran 
itself was riven by fighting between the various factions of 
the Qizilbash, who had mocked royal authority by killing the 
queen in 1579 and the grand vizier in 1583. 

First, Abbas settled his score with his mother's killers, 

executing four of the ringleaders of the plot and exiling three 

others. His next task was to free himself from the power of 

the "kingmaker", Murshid Qoli Khan. Murshid made Abbas 

marry Hamza's widow and a Safavid cousin, and began 

distributing important government posts among his own 

friends, gradually confining Abbas to the palace. Meanwhile 

the Uzbeks continued their conquest of Khorasan. When 

Abbas heard they were besieging his old friend Ali Qoli 

Khan Shamlu in Herat he pleaded with Murshid to take 

action. Fearing a rival, Murshid did nothing until the news 

came that Herat had fallen and the Uzbeks had slaughtered 

the entire population. Only then did he set out on campaign 

to Khorasan. But Abbas planned to avenge the death of Ali 

Qoli Khan and he suborned four Qizilbash leaders to kill 

Murshid after a banquet on 23 July 1589. With Murshid 

gone, Abbas could now rule Iran in his own right. 


Abbas decided he must re-establish order within Iran before 
he took on the foreign invaders. To this end he made a humiliating peace treaty with the Ottomans in 1589/90, 
ceding them the provinces of Azerbaijan, Karabagh, Ganja and Qarajadagh as well as parts of Georgia, Luristan and 
Kurdistan. [12][13] 

Abbas I of Persia 

Reducing the power of the Qizilbash 

The Qizilbash had provided the backbone of the Iranian army from the 
very beginning of Safavid rule and they also occupied many posts in 
the government. To counterbalance their power, Abbas turned to 
another element in Iranian society, the ghulams (a word literally 
meaning "slaves"). These were Georgians, Armenians and Circassians 
who had converted to Islam and taken up service in the army or the 
administration. Abbas promoted such ghulams to the highest offices of 
the state. They included the Georgian Allahverdi Khan, who became 
leader of the ghulam regiments in the army as well as governor of the 
rich province of Fars. Abbas removed provincial governorships from 
some Qizilbash leaders and transferred Qizilbash groups to the lands of 
other Qizilbash tribes, thus weakening Qizilbash tribal unity. 
Budgetary problems were resolved by restoring the shah's control of 
the provinces formerly governed by the Qizilbash chiefs, the revenues 
of which supplemented the royal treasury. 

Reforming the army 

Anthony Shirley and Robert Shirley (pictured in 
1622) helped modernize the Persian Army. 

Abbas needed to reform the army before he could hope to confront the 

Ottoman and Uzbek invaders. He also used military reorganisation as 

another way of sidelining the Qizilbash. Instead, he created a standing army of 40,000 ghulams and Iranians to 

fight alongside the traditional, feudal force provided by the Qizilbash. The new army regiments had no loyalty but to 

the shah. They consisted of 10,000-15,000 cavalry armed with muskets and other weapons, a corps of musketeers 

(12,000 strong) and one of artillery (also 12,000 strong). In addition Abbas had a personal bodyguard of 3,000 

ghulams . 

Abbas also greatly increased the amount of cannons at his disposal, permitting him to field 500 in a single battle. 
Ruthless discipline was enforced and looting was severely punished. Abbas was also able to draw on military advice 
from a number of European envoys, particularly from the English adventurers Sir Anthony, and his brother Robert 

Shirley, who arrived in 1598 as envoys from the Earl of Essex on an unofficial mission to induce Persia into 

anti-Ottoman alliance. 


War against the Uzbeks 

Abbas' first campaign with his reformed army was against the Uzbeks who had seized Khorasan and were ravaging 
the province. In April, 1598 he went on the attack. One of the two main cities of the province, Mashhad, was easily 
recaptured but the Uzbek leader Din Mohammed Khan was safely behind the walls of the other chief city, Herat. 
Abbas managed to lure the Uzbek army out of the town by feigning a retreat. A bloody battle ensued on 9 August 
1598, in the course of which the Uzbek khan was wounded and his troops retreated (the khan was murdered by his 
own men on the way). Abbas' north-east frontier was now safe for the time being and he could turn his attention to 

11 Rl 

the Ottomans in the west. 

Abbas I of Persia 

War against the Ottomans 

Since the treaty of 1589-90 Abbas had been regarded as almost an 
Ottoman vassal. The Safavids had never beaten their western 
neighbours in a straight fight. In 1602, Abbas decided he would no 
longer put up with Ottoman insults. After a particularly arrogant 
series of demands from the Turkish ambassador, the shah had him 
seized, had his beard shaved and sent it to his master, the sultan, in 


Constantinople. This was a declaration of war. Abbas first 
recaptured Nahavand and destroyed the fortress in the city, which 
the Ottomans had planned to use as an advance base for attacks on 
Iran. The next year, Abbas pretended he was setting off on a 
hunting expedition to Mazandaran with his men. This was merely 

a ruse to deceive the Ottoman spies in his court — his real target 

was Azerbaijan. He changed course for Qazvin where he 

assembled a large army and set off to retake Tabriz, which had 

been in Ottoman hands for decades. 

For the first time, the Iranians made great use of their artillery and 
the town — which had been ruined by Ottoman occupation — soon 


fell. Abbas set off to besiege Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, 

and one of the main Turkish strongholds in the Caucasus. It finally fell in June 1604 and with it the Ottomans lost the 

loyalty of most Armenians, Georgians and other Caucasians. But Abbas was unsure how the new sultan, Ahmed I, 

would respond and withdrew from the region using scorched earth tactics. For a year, neither side made a move, 

but in 1605, Abbas sent his general Allahverdi Khan to meet Ottoman forces on the shores of Lake Van. On 6 

"Abbas King of Persia", as seen by Thomas Herbert in 

November 1605 the Iranians led by Abbas scored a decisive victory over the Ottomans at Sufiyan, near Tabriz 


Several years of peace followed as the Ottomans carefully planned their response. But their secret training 
manoeuvres were observed by Iranian spies. Abbas learnt the Ottoman plan was to invade via Azerbaijan, take 
Tabriz then move on to Ardabil and Qazvin, which they could use as bargaining chips to exchange for other 


territories. The shah decided to lay a trap. He would allow the Ottomans to enter the country, then destroy them. 
He had Tabriz evacuated of its inhabitants while he waited at Ardabil with his army. In 1618, an Ottoman army of 
50,000 led by the grand vizier, invaded and easily seized Tabriz. The vizier sent an ambassador to the shah 
demanding he make peace and return the lands taken since 1602. Abbas refused and pretended he was ready to set 
fire to Ardabil and retreat further inland rather than face the Ottoman army. When the vizier heard the news, he 
decided to march on Ardabil right away. This was just what Abbas wanted. His army of 40,000 was hiding at a 
crossroads on the way and they ambushed the Ottoman army in a battle which ended in complete victory for the 



In 1623, Abbas decided to take back Mesopotamia which had been lost by his grandfather Tahmasp. Profiting from 
the confusion surrounding the accession of the new sultan Murad IV, he pretended to be making a pilgrimage to the 
Shi'ite shrines of Kerbala and Najaf, but used his army to seize Baghdad. He was distracted by the rebellion in 
Georgia in 1624 which allowed an Ottoman force to besiege Baghdad, but the shah came to its relief the next year 
and crushed the Turkish army decisively. In 1638, however, after Abbas' death, the Ottomans retook Baghdad and 

the Iranian— Ottoman border became finalised 


Although his success to restore the former lands of western Iran to his empire,he continued the Safavi military policy 
of avoiding a pitch battle with Ottomans, only previous exceptance being Caldiran War, 15 17, in which Shah Ismail 
lost his Eastern and Southeastern Anatolian territorries to Ottomans. 

Abbas I of Persia 


Kandahar and the Mughals 

Jahangir's dream: Mughal picture showing Jahangir 
(right) embracing Abbas 

Iran was traditionally allied with Mughal India against the Uzbeks, 
who coveted the province of Khorasan. The Mughal emperor 
Humayun had given Abbas' grandfather, Shah Tahmasp, the 
province of Kandahar as a reward for helping him back to his 
throne. In 1590, profiting from the confusion in Iran, Humayun's 
successor Akbar seized Kandahar. Abbas continued to maintain 
cordial relations with the Mughals, while always asking for the 
return of Kandahar. Finally, in 1620, a diplomatic incident in 
which the Iranian ambassador refused to bow down in front of the 
Emperor Jahangir led to war. India was embroiled in civil turmoil 
and Abbas found he only needed a lightning raid to take back 
Kandahar in 1622. After the conquest, he was very conciliatory to 
Jahangir, claiming he had only taken back what was rightly his 
and disavowing any further territorial ambitions. Jahangir was not 

appeased but he was unable to recapture the province 

[28] [29] 

Muhammad 'Ali Beg was the ambassador 

sent to the Mughal court by Shah Abbas 

of Iran, arriving in time for the New Year 

festival in March 1631. He remained 

there until October 1632, during which 

time his portrait was painted by the royal 

artist, Hashim. 

Abbas I of Persia 


War against the Portuguese 

During the 16th century the Portuguese had established bases in 
the Persian Gulf. In 1602, the Iranian army under the command of 
Imam-Quli Khan Undiladze managed to expel the Portuguese 
from Bahrain. In 1622, with the help of four English ships, 
Abbas retook Hormuz from the Portuguese in the Capture of 
Ormuz (1622). He replaced it as a trading centre with a new port, 
Bandar Abbas, nearby on the mainland, but it never became as 



The shah and his subjects 
Isfahan: a new capital 

CoM &fiL*^N 



The island of Hormuz was captured by an 
Anglo-Persian force in the 1622 Capture of Ormuz. 

Abbas moved his capital from Qazvin to the more central and more Persian Isfahan in 1598. Embellished by a 
magnificent series of new mosques, baths, colleges, and caravansarais, Isfahan became one of the most beautiful 
cities in the world. As Roger Savory writes, "Not since the development of Baghdad in the eighth century A.D. by 

the Caliph al-Mansur had there been such a comprehensive example of town-planning in the Islamic world, and the 

scope and layout of the city centre clear reflect its status as the capital of an empire." Isfahan became the centre of 

Safavid architectural achievement, with the mosques Masjed-e Shah and the Masjed-e Sheykh Lotfollah and other 

monuments like the Ali Qapu, the Chehel Sotoun palace, and the Naghsh-i Jahan Square. 


Abbas' painting ateliers (of the Isfahan school established under his patronage) created some of the finest art in 

modern Iranian history, by such illustrious painters as Reza Abbasi, Muhammad Qasim and others. Despite the 

ascetic roots of the Safavid dynasty and the religious injunctions restricting the pleasures lawful to the faithful, the 

art of Abbas' time denotes a certain relaxation of the strictures. Historian James Saslow interprets the portrait by 

Muhammad Qasim as showing that the Muslim taboo against wine, as well as that against male intimacy, "were 

more honored in the breach than in the observance". Abbas brought 300 Chinese potters to Iran to enhance local 

production of Chinese-style ceramics. From E. Sykes's "Persia and Its People": "Early in the seventeenth century, 

Shah Abbas imported Chinese workmen into his country to teach his subjects the art of making porcelain, and the 

Chinese influence is very strong in the designs on this ware. Chinese marks are also copied, so that to scratch an 

article is sometimes the only means of proving it to be of Persian manufacture, for the Chinese glaze, hard as iron, 

will take no mark 

,,[34] [35] 

Abbas I of Persia 



Religious attitude and religious minorities 

Like all other Safavid monarchs, Abbas was a Shi'ite Muslim. He had a particular veneration for Imam Hussein. In 
1601, he made a pilgrimage on foot from Isfahan to Mashhad, site of the shrine of Imam Reza, which he restored (it 
had been despoiled by the Uzbeks). Since Sunni Islam was the religion of Iran's main rival, the Ottoman Empire, 
Abbas often treated Sunnis living in western border provinces harshly. 

Abbas was generally tolerant of Christianity. The Italian traveller 

Pietro della Valle was astonished at the shah's knowledge of 

Christian history and theology and establishing diplomatic links 

with European Christian states was a vital part of the shah's 

foreign policy. Christian Armenia was a key province on the 

border between Abbas' realm and the Ottoman Empire. From 1604 

Abbas implemented a "scorched earth" policy in the region to 

protect his north-western frontier against any invading Ottoman 

forces, a policy which involved the forced resettlement of many 

Armenians from their homelands. Many were transferred to New 

Julfa, a town the shah had built for the Armenians near his capital 

Isfahan. Thousands of Armenians died on the journey. Those 

who survived enjoyed considerable religious freedom in New 

Julfa, where the shah built them a new cathedral. Abbas' aim was 

to boost the Iranian economy by encouraging the Armenian 

merchants who had moved to New Julfa. As well as religious 

liberties, he also offered them interest-free loans and allowed the 

town to elect its own mayor (kalantar). Other Armenians were 

transferred to the provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran. These were 

less lucky. Abbas wanted to establish a second capital in Mazandaran, Farahabad, but the climate was unhealthy and 

malarial. Many settlers died and others gradually abandoned the city. 

Kelisa-e Vank (the Armenian Vank Cathedral) in New 

In 1614-15, Abbas suppressed a rebellion by the Christian Georgians of Kakheti, killing 60-70,000 and deporting 

over 100,000 Georgian peasants to Iran. He later had the Georgian queen Ketevan tortured to death when she 

refused to renounce Christianity. 

Abbas I of Persia 


Contacts with Europe 

Abbas' tolerance towards Christians was part of his policy of 
establishing diplomatic links with European powers to try to enlist 
their help in the fight against their common enemy, the Ottoman 
Empire. The idea of such an anti-Ottoman alliance was not a new 
one - over a century before, Uzun Hassan, then ruler of part of 
Iran, had asked the Venetians for military aid - but none of the 
Safavids had made diplomatic overtures to Europe and Abbas' 
attitude was in marked contrast to that of his grandfather, Tahmasp 

I, who had expelled the English traveller Anthony Jenkinson from 

his court on hearing he was a Christian. For his part, Abbas 

declared that he "preferred the dust from the shoe soles of the 

lowest Christian to the highest Ottoman personage 




fCat mjjh rf/rai 
We tfiu MC Per aDlyi 

The ambassador Husain Ali Beg led the first Persian 
embassy to Europe (1599—1602). 

In 1599, Abbas sent his first diplomatic 
mission to Europe. The group crossed 
the Caspian Sea and spent the winter in 
Moscow, before proceeding through 
Norway, Germany (where it was 
received by Emperor Rudolf II) to 
Rome where Pope Clement VIII gave 
the travellers a long audience. They 
finally arrived at the court of Philip III 
of Spain in 1602. Although the 
expedition never managed to return to 
Iran, being shipwrecked on the journey 
around Africa, it marked an important 
new step in contacts between Iran and 
Europe and Europeans began to be 
fascinated by the Iranians and their 
culture - Shakespeare's 1601-02 
Twelfth Night, for example, makes two references (at II. 5 and III.4) to 'the Sophy', then the English term for the 
Shahs of Iran. Henceforward, the number of diplomatic missions to and fro greatly increased. 

Fresco in the Doge's Palace in Venice depicting Doge Mariano Grimani receiving the 
Persian Ambassadors, 1599 

The shah had set great store on an alliance with Spain, the chief opponent of the Ottomans in Europe. Abbas offered 
trading rights and the chance to preach Christianity in Iran in return for help against the Ottomans. But the stumbling 
block of Hormuz remained, a port which had fallen into Spanish hands when the King of Spain inherited the throne 
of Portugal in 1580. The Spanish demanded Abbas break off relations with the English East India Company before 

Abbas I of Persia 


they would consider relinquishing the town. Abbas was unable to comply. Eventually Abbas became frustrated with 
Spain, as he did with the Holy Roman Empire, which wanted him to make his 170,000 Armenian subjects swear 

allegiance to the Pope but did not trouble to inform the shah when the Emperor Rudolf signed a peace treaty with the 

Ottomans. Contacts with the Pope, Poland and Moscow were no more fruitful. 

More came of Abbas' contacts with the English, although England had little interest in fighting against the Ottomans. 

The Sherley brothers arrived in 1598 and helped reorganise the Iranian army. The English East India Company also 

began to take an interest in Iran and in 1622 four of its ships helped Abbas retake Hormuz from the Portuguese in the 

capture of Hormuz. It was the beginning of the East India Company's long-running interest in Iran. 

Family tragedies and death 

Of Abbas' five sons, three had survived past childhood, so the 
Safavid succession seemed secure. He was on good terms with the 
crown prince, Mohammed Baqir Mirza (born 1587; better known 
in the West as Safi Mirza). In 1614, however, during a campaign 
in Georgia, the shah heard rumours that the prince was conspiring 
against his life with a leading Circassian, Fahrad Beg. Shortly 
after, Mohammed Baqir broke protocol during a hunt by killing a 
boar before the shah had chance to put his spear in. This seemed to 
confirm Abbas' suspicions and he sunk into melancholy; he no 
longer trusted any of his three sons. In 1615, he decided he had no 
choice but to have Mohammed killed. A Circassian named Behbud 
Beg executed the Shah's orders and the prince was murdered in a 
hammam in the city of Resht. The shah almost immediately 
regretted his action and was plunged into grief. 


In 1621, Abbas fell seriously ill. His heir, Mohammed 
Khodabanda, thought he was on his deathbed and began to 
celebrate his accession to the throne with his Qizilbash supporters. 
But the shah recovered and punished his son with blinding, which 
would disqualify him from ever taking the throne. The blinding 
was only partially successful and the prince's followers planned to 
smuggle him out of the country to safety with the Great Mughal 
whose aid they would use to overthrow Abbas and install 
Mohammed on the throne. But the plot was betrayed, the prince's 

followers were executed and the prince himself imprisoned in the fortress of Alamut where he would later be 

murdered by Abbas' successor, Shah Safi 

Shah Abbas in later life with a page. By Muhammad 
Qasim(1627). [54] 


Imam Qoli Mirza, the third and last son, now became the crown prince. Abbas groomed him carefully for the throne 


but, for whatever reason, in 1627, he had him partially blinded and imprisoned in Alamut. 

Unexpectedly, Abbas now chose as heir the son of Mohammed Baqir Mirza, Sam Mirza, a cruel and introverted 
character who was said to loathe his grandfather because of his father's murder. It was he who in fact did succeed 
Shah Abbas at the age of seventeen in 1629, taking the name Shah Safi. Abbas's health was troubled from 1621 
onwards. He died at his palace in Mazandaran in 1629 and was buried in Kashan 


Abbas I of Persia 15 

Character and legacy 

According to Roger Savory: "Shah Abbas I possessed in abundance qualities which entitle him to be styled 'the 
Great'. He was a brilliant strategist and tactician whose chief characteristic was prudence. He preferred to obtain his 
ends by diplomacy rather than war, and showed immense patience in pursuing his objectives." In Michael 
Axworthy's view, Abbas "was a talented administrator and military leader, and a ruthless autocrat. His reign was the 
outstanding creative period of the Safavid era. But the civil wars and troubles of his childhood (when many of his 
relatives were murdered) left him with a dark twist of suspicion and brutality at the centre of his personality." 

The Cambridge History of Iran rejects the view that the death of Abbas marked the beginning of the decline of the 
Safavid dynasty as Iran continued to prosper throughout the 17th century, but blames him for the poor statemanship 
of the later Safavid shahs: "The elimination of royal princes, whether by blinding or immuring them in the harem, 
their exclusion from the affairs of state and from contact with the leading aristocracy of the empire and the generals, 
all the abuses of the princes' education, which were nothing new but which became the normal practice with Abbas 
at the court of Isfahan, effectively put a stop to the training of competent successors, that is to say, efficient princes 
prepared to meet the demands of ruling as kings." 

Abbas gained strong support from the common people. Sources report him spending much of his time among them, 
personally visiting bazaars and other public places in Isfahan. Short in stature but physically strong until his 
health declined in his final years, Abbas could go for long periods without needing to sleep or eat and could ride 
great distances. At the age of 19 Abbas shaved off his beard, keeping only his moustache, thus setting a fashion in 



• Prince Shahzadeh Soltan Mohammad Baqer Feyzi Mirza (b. 15 September 1587, Mashhad, Khorasan-£. 25 
January 1615, Rasht, Gilan), was Governor of Mashhad 1587-1588, and of Hamadan 1591-1592. Married (1st) at 
Esfahan, 1601, Princess Fakhri-Jahan, daughter of Ismail II. Married (2nd) Del Aram, a Georgian. Married (3rd) 
Marta daughter of Eskandar Mirza. He had issue, two sons: 

• (By Del Aram) Prince Shahzadeh Soltan Abul-Naser Sam Mirza, succeeded as Safi. 

• (By Fakhri-Jahan) Prince Shahzadeh Soltan Soleyman Mirza (k. August 1632 at Alamut, Qazvin). He had 

• Prince Shahzadeh Soltan Hasan Mirza (b. September 1588, Mazandaran - d. 18 August 1591, Qazvin) 

• Prince Shahzadeh Soltan Hosein Mirza (b. 26 February 1591, Qazvin - d. before 1605) 

• Prince Shahzadeh Tahmasph Mirza 

• Prince Shahzadeh Soltan Mohammad Mirza (b. 18 March 1591, Qazvin - k. August 1632, Alamut, Qazvin) 
Blinded on the orders of his father, 1621. 

• Prince Shahzadeh Soltan Ismail Mirza (b. 6 September 1601, Esfahan - k. 16 August 1613) 

• Prince Shahzadeh Imam Qoli Amano'llah Mirza (b. 12 November 1602, Esfahan - k. August 1632, Alamut, 
Qazvin) Blinded on the orders of his father, 1627. He had issue, one son: 

• Prince Shahzadeh Najaf Qoli Mirza (b. 1625-fe. August 1632, Alamut, Qazvin) 

• Princess Shahzadeh 'Alamiyan Shazdeh Beygom (d. before 1629), married Mirza Mohsen Razavi. She had issue, 
two sons. 

• Princess Shahzadeh 'Alamiyan Zobeydeh Beygom (b. 4 December 1586 -k. 20 February 1632). She had issue, 
three sons and one daughter, including: Jahan-Banoo Begum, married in 1623, Simon II of Kartli son of Bagrat 
VII of Kartli by his wife, Queen Anna, daughter of Alexander II of Kakheti. She had issue, a daughter: Princess 

Abbas I of Persia 


Princess Shahzadeh 'Alamiyan Khan Agha Beygom, married Mirza Abu Talib Ala ud-din Muhammad al-Husaini 
al-Marashi, son of Mir Rafi ud-din Muhammad Khalifa Isfahani. She had issue, four sons and four daughters. 
Princess Shahzadeh 'Alamiyan Havva Beygom (d. 1617, Zanjan) 
Princess Shahzadeh 'Alamiyan Shahbanoo Beygom. 
Princess Shahzadeh Alamiyan Malek-Nesa Beygom (d. 1629) 


[1] Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, page 1 

[2] Savory p. 71 

[3] Newman p.42 

[4] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 27-28 

[5] Nahavandi and Bomati 29-34 

[6] Savory pp. 73-75 

[7] Nahavandi and Bomati 34-36 

[8] Savory p. 75 

[9] Nahavandi and Bomati p. 36 






















'] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 36-39 

] Newman p. 50 

] Savory pp. 76-77 

] Newman p. 52 

] Savory p. 78 

] Michael Axworthy Iran: Empire of the Mind pp. 134-35 

■] Savory p. 79 

] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 141-144 

] Savory p. 83-4 

] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 147-148 

'] Savory p. 85 

] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 148-149 

] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 149-150 

] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 150-151 

] Savory p. 87 

] Nahavandi and Bomati p. 153 

] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 153-156 

] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 158-159 

] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 120-125 

] Abraham Eraly The Mughal Throne (Phoenix, 2000) pp. 263-265 

•] Juan R. I. Cole. "Rival Empires of Trade and Imami Shiism in Eastern Arabia, 1300-1800" ( 

sici?sici=0020-7438(198705)19:2<177:REOTAI>2.0.CO;2-X). JSTOR. p. 186. . Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
[31] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 159-162 
[32] Roger Savory Iran Under the Safavids p.96 
[33] Newman, Andrew J. (2006), "Monumental Challenge and Monumental Responses: the reign of Abbas I (1587—1629)", Safavid Iran: rebirth 

of a Persian empire, I. B. Tauris, p. 69, ISBN 978-1-86064-667-6 
[34] Francis Barrow Pearce (1920). Zanzibar: the island metropolis of eastern Africa ( 

books?id=XRRzAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA359#v=onepage&q&f=false). GREAT BRITAIN: Dutton. p. 359. . Retrieved March/12/2012. 

"interest to quote the following extract from E. Sykes's Persia and Its People: "Early in the seventeenth century, Shah Abbas imported Chinese 

workmen into his country to teach his subjects the art of making porcelain, and the Chinese influence is very strong in the designs on this 

ware. Chinese marks are also copied, so that to scratch an article is sometimes the only means of proving it to be of Persian manufacture, for 

the Chinese glaze, hard as iron, will take no mark."" 
[35] Francis Barrow Pearce (1920). Zanzibar: the island metropolis of eastern Africa ( 

books?id=XRRzAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA430#v=onepage&q&f=false). GREAT BRITAIN: Dutton. p. 430. . Retrieved March/12/2012. "Shah 

Abbas, 202; his name men- tioned on bronze guns at Zanzibar, 200; imports Chinese artisans to teach the art of pottery-making, 350" 
[36] Nahavandi and Bomati pp.96-99 
[37] Nahavandi and Bomati pp.111-112 
[38] Nahavandi and Bomati p. 107 

[39] According to Bomati and Nahavandi (p. 103), of 56,000 who left Armenia, only 30,000 reached the new town. 
[40] Bomati and Nahavandi p.209 
[41] This paragraph: Nahavandi and Bomati 100-104 

Abbas I of Persia 


[42] This paragraph: Cambridge History of Iran Volume 6 p.454 

[43] This paragraph: The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times: Foreign Dominion to Statehood: the Fifteenth Century to the 

Twentieth Century edited by Richard G. Hovannisian (Palgrave Macmillan,2004) pp. 19-20 

[44] R.G. Suny The Making of the Georgian Nation (Indiana University Press, 1994) p. 50 

[45] Sunyp.50 

[46] Assatiani and Bendianachvili Histoire de la Georgie (L'Harmattan, 1997) p. 188 

[47] Laurence Lockhart in The Legacy of Persia ed. A. J. Arberry (Oxford University Press, 1953 p. 347) 

[48] Nahavandi and Bomati p.l 14 

[49] rwe//fftMg/i(( 


oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=the sophy twelfth night&f=false) 

[50] Richard Wilson, "When Golden Time Convents": Twelfth Night and Shakespeare's Eastern Promise, Shakespeare, Volume 6, Issue 2 June 

2010 , pages 209 - 226 ( 

[51] Nahavandi and Bomati pp.128-130 

[52] Nahavandi and Bomati pp. 130- 137 

[53] Nahavandi and Bomati pp.161-162 

[54] Nahavandi and Bomati, illustration opposite p. 162 

[55] This paragraph: Nahavandi and Bomati p. 235-7 

[56] Savory p. 95 

[57] Nahavandi and Bomati pp.240-241 

[58] Nahavandi and Bomati pp.241-242 

[59] Bomati and Nahavandi pp.243-6 

[60] Savory p.101 

[61] Axworthy p.134 

[62] H.R. Roemer in Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 6, p. 278 

[63] Savory p. 103 

[64] Nahavandi and Bomati pp.44-47, 57-58 


• H. Nahavandi, Y. Bomati, Shah Abbas, empereur de Perse (1587-1629) (Perrin, Paris, 1998) 

• Roger Savory Iran under the Safavids (Cambridge University Press, 2007 reissue) 

• The Cambridge History of Iran Volume 6 

• Andrew J. Newman Safavid Iran (I.B.Tauris, 2006) 

External links 

• Shah Abbas: The Remaking of Iran, The British Museum ( 
future_exhibitions/shah_abbas.aspx), in association with Iran Heritage Foundation, 19 February — 14 June 2009, 

• John Wilson, Iranian treasures bound for Britain, BBC Radio 4, 19 January 2009, BBC Radio 4's live magazine 
(, Front Row ( 
uk/iplayer/console/b00gqy39) (audio report). 

• "Shah Abbas: The Remaking of Iran" ( 10/_nr-633/i. 




Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar 

SF 3rd Mughal Emperor 






Bairam Khan (1556-1561) 


30 wives including Mariam-uz-Zamani 


Jahangir, Murad, Danyal, 6 daughters others 

Full name 

Abu'1-Fath Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar I 






Hamida Banu Begum 


15 October 1542 
Umerkot, Sind 


27 October 1605 (aged 63) 
Fatehpur Sikri, Agra 


Sikandra, Agra 



Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar (Urdu: yS\ s^s^a ,v jJI J^>- Hunterian Jalal ud-Dm Muhammad Akbar), also 


known as Shahanshah Akbar-e-Azam ox Akbar the Great (14 October 1542 — 27 October 1605), was the third 
Mughal Emperor. He was of Timurid descent; the son of Emperor Humayun, and the grandson of the Mughal 
Emperor Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur, the ruler who founded the Mughal dynasty in India. At the end of his reign 
in 1605 the Mughal empire covered most of northern and central India. He is most appreciated for having a liberal 
outlook on all faiths and beliefs and during his era, culture and art reached a zenith as compared to his predecessors. 

Akbar was 13 years old when he ascended the Mughal throne in Delhi (February 1556), following the death of his 

father Humayun. During his reign, he eliminated military threats from the powerful Pashtun descendants of Sher 

Shah Suri, and at the Second Battle of Panipat he decisively defeated the newly self-declared Hindu king Hemu. 

It took him nearly two more decades to consolidate his power and bring all the parts of northern and central India 

into his direct realm. He influenced the whole of the Indian Subcontinent as he ruled a greater part of it as an 

emperor. As an emperor, Akbar solidified his rule by pursuing diplomacy with the powerful Hindu Rajput caste, and 

by marrying Rajput princesses. 


Akbar's reign significantly influenced art and culture in the country. He was a great patron of art and architecture 
He took a great interest in painting, and had the walls of his palaces adorned with murals. Besides encouraging the 
development of the Mughal school, he also patronised the European style of painting. He was fond of literature, and 
had several Sanskrit works translated into Persian and Persian scriptures translated in Sanskrit apart from getting 


many Persian works illustrated by painters from his court. During the early years of his reign, he showed intolerant 
attitude towards Hindus and other religions, but later exercised tolerance towards non-Islamic faiths by rolling back 
some of the strict sharia laws. His administration included numerous Hindu landlords, courtiers and military 



generals. He began a series of religious debates where Muslim scholars would debate religious matters with Hindus, 
Jains, Zoroastrians and Portuguese Roman Catholic Jesuits. He treated these religious leaders with great 
consideration, irrespective of their faith, and revered them. He not only granted lands and money for the mosques but 
the list of the recipients included a huge number Hindu temples in north and central India, Christian churches in Goa. 

Early years and name 

Shahzada (son of the emperor) Akbar was born on 15 October 1542 (the fourth day of Rajab, 949 AH), at the Rajput 
Fortress of Umerkot in Sindh (in modern day Pakistan), where Emperor Humayun and his recently wedded wife, 
Hamida Banu Begum, daughter of Shaikh Ali Akbar Jami, a Persian Shia, were taking refuge. After the capture of 

Kabul by Humayun, Badruddin's circumcision ceremony was held and his date of birth and name were changed to 

throw off evil sorcerers and he was re-named Jalal-ud-din Muhammad by Humayun, a name which he had heard 

in his dream at Lahore. Part 10:. .the birth of Akbar Humayun nama, Columbia University. 

Humayun had been driven into exile in Persia by the Pashtun leader Sher Shah 
Suri. Akbar did not go to Persia with his parents but grew up in the village of 
Mukundpur in Rewa (in present day Madhya Pradesh). Akbar and prince Ram 
Singh I, who later became the Maharajah of Rewa, grew up together and stayed 
close friends through life. Later, Akbar moved to the eastern parts of the Safavid 
Empire (now a part of Afghanistan) where he was raised by his uncle Mirza 
Askari. He spent his youth learning to hunt, run, and fight, but he never learned 
to read or write. This lifestyle of his childhood made him a daring, powerful and 
a brave warrior but he remained illiterate throughout his life. Although this did 
not hinder his search of knowledge as it is said whenever he used to go to bed, 

there would be somebody reading for the king 


Following the chaos over the succession of Sher Shah Suri's son Islam Shah, 
Humayun reconquered Delhi in 1555, leading an army partly provided by his 
Persian ally Tahmasp I. A few months later, Humayun died. Akbar's guardian, 
Bairam Khan concealed the death in order to prepare for Akbar's succession. 
Akbar succeeded Humayun on 14 February 1556, while in the midst of a war 
against Sikandar Shah to reclaim the Mughal throne. In Kalanaur, Punjab, the 13 
year old Akbar was enthroned by Bairam Khan on a newly constructed platform, which still stands. He was 

proclaimed Shahanshah (Persian for "King of Kings"). Bairam Khan ruled on his behalf until he came of age 


Military achievements 
Military innovations 

Akbar was known in his own time as a military genius. Due to the constant state of war between the Hindu Rajputs 
and the Mughal Empire, particularly after the wounding of the Mughal commander Khan Kilan by Rajput nobles in 
the year 1572, Akbar began to utilize the Kitar alongside the Mughal Talwars in battle. The latest Matchlocks were 
mass produced by the finest craftsmen and effectively employed during various conflicts. Akbar also ordered the 
manufacture of the finest chain-plate armors other protections that made his War elephants and Sowars invincible in 
combat. Akbar also began to utilize metal cylinder rockets known as bans particularly against War elephants, 
during the Battle of Sanbal. 

Akbar also began to believe that War elephants were the keys to military success, he believed that a single "Armored 
Elephant" was equal to 500 Sowars at the center of the battlefield. Akbar also noted that elephants have the ability to 
move through the densest of forests clearing through woods and paving way for both the Mughal Sepoys, Sowars 



and Cannons. Akbar personally owned 5000 well trained elephants and recorded the use of almost 40,000 across his 
Mughal Empire. Akbar is also known to have replaced pairs of elephant tusks with a pair of double-curved Tusk 

Swords. War elephants were also utilized to carry out executions of those who fought against the Mughal 

Emperor. Akbar was also the first to place advanced swivel guns and cannons atop of Howdahs, thus combining 

firepower and mobility on the battlefield and sieges 


The Mughal Emperor Akbar also distributed crescent military standards and kettledrums to his finest servicemen. 

Early conquests 

Akbar decided early in his reign that he should conquer the threat of Sher Shah's 
dynasty, and decided to lead an army against the strongest of the three, Sikandar 
Shah Suri, in the Punjab. He left Delhi under the regency of Tardi Baig Khan. 
Sikandar Shah Suri presented no major concern for Akbar, and often withdrew 
from territory as Akbar approached 


The Hindu king Hemu, however, commanding the Afghan forces, defeated the 

n 8i 
Mughal Army and captured Delhi on 6 October 1556. Urged by Bairam Khan, 

who remarshalled the Mughal army before Hemu could consolidate his position, 

Akbar marched on Delhi to reclaim it. Akbar's army, led by Bairam Khan, 

met the larger forces of Hemu on November 5, 1556 at the Second Battle of 

Panipat, 50 miles (unknown operator: u'strong' km) north of Delhi. The battle 

was going in Hemu's favour when an arrow pierced Hemu's eye, rendering him 

unconscious. The leaderless army soon capitulated and Hemu was captured and 



The victory also left Akbar with over 1,500 war elephants which he used to 

re-engage Sikandar Shah at the siege of Choopa. Sikandar, along with several 

local chieftains who were assisting him, surrendered and so was spared death. 

With this, the whole of Punjab was annexed to the Mughal empire. Before 

returning to Agra, Akbar sent a detachment of his army to Jammu, which 

defeated the ruler Raja Kapur Chand and captured the kingdom. Between 

1558 and 1560, after moving the capital from Delhi to Agra, Akbar further expanded the empire by capturing and 

annexing the kingdoms of Gwalior, northern Rajputana and Jaunpur 

The court of young Akbar, age 13, 

showing his first imperial act: the 

arrest of an unruly courtier, who was 

once a favorite of Akbar's father. 

Illustration from a manuscript of the 



After a dispute at court, Akbar dismissed Bairam Khan in the spring of 1560 and ordered him to leave on Hajj to 

1271 [251 

Mecca. Bairam left for Mecca, but on his way was goaded by his opponents to rebel. He was defeated by the 
Mughal army in the Punjab and forced to submit. Akbar, however forgave him and gave him the option of either 


continuing in his court or resuming his pilgrimage, of which Bairam chose the latter. 



After dealing with the rebellion of Bairam Khan and establishing 
his authority. Akbar went on to expand the Mughal empire by 
subjugating local chiefs and annexing neighbouring kingdoms. 
The first major conquest was of Malwa in 1561, an expedition that 
was led by Adham Khan and carried out with such savage cruelty 
that it resulted in a backlash from the kingdom enabling its ruler 

Baz Bahadur to recover the territory while Akbar was dealing with 

the rebellion of Bairam Khan. Subsequently, Akbar sent 

another detachment which captured Malwa in 1562, and Baz 

Bahadur eventually surrendered to the Mughals and was made an 

administrator by Akbar. Around the same time, the Mughal army 

also conquered the kingdom of the Gonds, after a fierce battle 

between Asaf Khan, the Mughal governor of Allahabad, and Rani 

Durgavati queen of the Gonds. However after the victory of the 

Mughals, Asaf Khan allegedly misappropriated most of the wealth 

plundered from the kingdom and later Akbar subsequently ordered 

him to restore some of the wealth, apart from installing Durgavati's 

son, a convert to Islam, as the local administrator of the newly 

conquered region. 

Over the course of Akbar's conquest of Malwa, he brought most of 
present-day Rajasthan, Gujarat and Bengal under his control, but 
Akbar believed that Chittorgarh Fort was a major threat to Mughal 
Empire because it housed Rajputs who were considered sworn 
enemies of the Mughals, in the year 1567 Akbar began to gather 
his forces who were briefly interrupted during the Battle of 
Thanesar, but by autumn Akbar was prepared to mount his siege. 
Chittorgarh Fort was ruled by Udai Singh who often gave refuge 
to the enemies of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Udai Singh's 
kingdom was of great strategic importance as it lay on the shortest 
route from Agra to Gujarat and was also considered a key to 
central Rajasthan. Fearing Akbar's impending assault Udai Singh 
retired to the hills, leaving two warriors Jaimal and Patta in charge 

| vollstandig integriert 
abhangige Gebiete 

1 Swat 

2 Paschtunische Stamme 

3 Dera Gha2i Khan 

4 Kangra 

5 Kumaun 

6 Koch Bihar 

7 Kachchh (Kutch) 
'■'> Mewfi* (I iciaiput) 
9 Ahmadnagar 

1D Gondwana 

11 Jharkhand (Kokrah) 

Mughal Empire under Akbar. 


The third Mughal Emperor Akbar leads his 

armies during the Siege of Ranthambore in the 

year 1569, against Rai Surjan Hada. 

of the fort. 


In October 1567, the Mughal army of approximately 5000 men led by Akbar surrounded and besieged 8000 Hindu 
Rajputs during the Siege of Chittorgarh and within a few months Akbar's ranks expanded to over 50,000 men. After 
an arduous siege Akbar ordered his men and augmented them to lift baskets of earth in order to create a hill in front 
of the fort by which the Mughal Cannons could be placed. As the Mohur Hill was completed Akbar placed his 
cannons and mortars near its tip, he then organized his sappers to plant mines under the heavy stone walls of the 
fortress of Chittor, but the mines exploded prematurely during an assault killing about a hundred Mughal Sowars, as 
the siege continued it 



is believed that a shot from Akbar's own Matchlock wounded or killed 

the commander of the already demoralized Hindu Rajputs. The 

fortress of Chittor finally fell on February 1568 after a siege of four 

months. The fort was then stormed by the Mughal forces, and a fierce 

resistance was offered by members of the garrison stationed inside. 

When the Rajput women were ordered to commit Jauhar (self 

immolation), Akbar had realized that victory was near and the Mughals 

launched their final assault over 30,000 inhabitants of Chittorgarh Fort 

were killed by the victorious Mughal army. Akbar then ordered the 

heads of his enemies to be displayed upon towers erected throughout 

the region, in order to demonstrate his authority 


The total loot that fell into the hands of the Mughal was distributed 

throughout the Mughal Empire. Akbar then ordered the statues of 

two of the "armored elephants" that led the Mughal assault be carved 

and erected at the chief gate of the Agra Fort. Akbar then built 

similar spiked-gates throughout his fortresses in order to deter elephant 

attacks. It is said that the brass candlesticks taken from the Kalika 

temple after its destruction were given to the shrine of Moinuddin 

Chishti in Ajmer, a shrine that Akbar vowed to rebuild after his 

victory. Akbar then celebrated the victory over Chittor and 

Ranthambore by laying the foundation of a new city, 23 miles (unknown operator: u'strong 1 km) W.S.W of Agra 

in 1569. It was called Fatehpur Sikri ("city of victory") 

The Mughal Emperor Akbar shoots a Rajput 

leader, using a Matchlock, during the Siege of 



In the year 1568, the 26 year old Mughal Emperor Akbar reigned supreme, bolstered by his success, he was looking 
forward to widespread acclamation as one of the greatest Muslim conqueror within and beyond his realm and was 
given the honorable title Zill-e-Ilahi (Zeal of Allah). He gathered miniature painters, who illustrated the Mughal 
forces that fought during the Siege of Chittorgarh in the Fatahnama-i-Chittor issued by him after the conquest of 
Chittor at Ajmer, where he stayed for some time and then returned to Agra, on Ramadan 10, 975AH/March 9, 
1568AD. After Akbar's conquest of Chittor, two major Rajput clans remained opposed to him - the Sisodiyas of 
Mewar and Hadas of Ranthambore. 

Ranthambore Fort was reputed to be the most powerful fortress in Rajasthan, was conquered by the Mughal army in 
1569 during the Siege of Ranthambore, making Akbar the master of almost the whole of Rajputana. As a result, most 
of the Rajput kings, including those of Bikaner, Bundelkhand and Jaisalmer submitted to Akbar. Only the clans of 

Mewar continued to resist Mughal conquest and Akbar had to fight with them from time to time for the greater part 

of his reign. Among the most prominent of them was Maharana Pratap who declined to accept Akbar's 

suzerainty and also opposed the marriage etiquette of Rajputs who had been giving their daughters to Mughals. He 

renounced all matrimonial alliances with Rajput rulers who had married into the Mughal dynasty, refusing such 

alliances even with the princes of Marwar and Amer until they agreed to sever ties with the Mughals 



Having conquered Rajputana, Akbar turned to Gujarat, whose government was in a state of disarray after the death 
of its previous ruler, Bahadur Shah. The province was a tempting target as it was a center of world trade, it possessed 


fertile soil and had highly developed crafts. The province had been occupied by Humayun for a brief period, and 
prior to that was ruled by the Delhi Sultanate. In 1572, Akbar marched to Ahmedabad, which capitulated without 
offering resistance. He took Surat by siege, and then crossed the Mahi river and defeated his estranged cousins, the 

[42] [43] 

Mirzas, in a hard-fought battle at Sarnal. During the campaign, Akbar met a group of Portuguese merchants 



for the first time at Cambay. Having established his authority over Gujarat, Akbar returned to Agra, but Mirza-led 
rebellions soon broke out. Akbar returned, crossing Rajasthan at great speed on camels and horses, and reached 

Ahmedabad in eleven days - a journey that normally took six weeks. Akbar's army of 3000 horsemen then defeated 

the enemy forces numbering 20000 in a decisive victory on 2 September 1573. 


Political government 

Akbar's system of central government was based on the system 
that had evolved since the Delhi Sultanate, but the functions of 

various departments were carefully reorganised by laying down 

detailed regulations for their functioning: 

• The revenue department was headed by a wazir, responsible for 
all finances and management of jagir and inam lands. 

• The head of the military was called the mir bakshi, appointed 
from among the leading nobles of the court. The mir bakshi was 
in charge of intelligence gathering, and also made 
recommendations to the emperor for military appointments and 

• The mir saman was in charge of the imperial household, 
including the harems, and supervised the functioning of the 
court and royal bodyguard. 

• The judiciary was a separate organization headed by a chief 
qazi, who was also responsible for religious endowments. 

Akbar departed from the policy of his predecessors in his 
treatment of the territories he conquered. Previous Mughals 
extracted a large tribute from these rulers and then leave them to 
administer their dominions autonomously; Akbar integrated them 
into his administration, providing them the opportunity to serve as 
military rulers. He thus simultaneously controlled their power 
while increasing their prestige as a part of the imperial ruling 

Young Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana son of Bairam 

Khan being received by Akbar, being helped by Ataga 

Khan, (Akbarnamd) 



Some of these rulers went on to become the navaratnas in Akbar's court. 


Akbar set about reforming the administration of his empire's land revenue by adopting a system that had been used 
by Sher Shah Suri. A cultivated area where crops grew well was measured and taxed through fixed rates based on the 
area's crop and productivity. However, this placed hardship on the peasantry because tax rates were fixed on the 
basis of prices prevailing in the imperial court, which were often higher than those in the countryside. Akbar 
changed to a decentralized system of annual assessment, but this resulted in corruption among local officials and was 
abandoned in 1580, to be replaced by a system called the dahsala. Under the new system, revenue was calculated 
as one-third of the average produce of the previous ten years, to be paid to the state in cash. This system was later 
refined, taking into account local prices, and grouping areas with similar productivity into assessment circles. 
Remission was given to peasants when the harvest failed during times of flood or drought. Akbar's dahsala 

system is credited to Raja Todar Mai, who also served as a revenue officer under Sher Shah Suri, and the 
structure of the revenue administration was set out by the latter in a detailed memorandum submitted to the emperor 



in 1582-83. [49] 

Other local methods of assessment continued in some areas. Land which was fallow or uncultivated was charged at 
concessional rates. Akbar also actively encouraged the improvement and extension of agriculture. The village 
continued to remain the primary unit of revenue assessment. Zamindars of every area were required to provide 
loans and agricultural implements in times of need, to encourage farmers to plough as much land as possible and to 
sow seeds of superior quality. In turn, the zamindars were given a hereditary right to collect a share of the produce. 
Peasants had a hereditary right to cultivate the land as long as they paid the land revenue. While the revenue 
assessment system showed concern for the small peasantry, it also maintained a level of distrust towards the revenue 
officials. Revenue officials were guaranteed only three-quarters of their salary, with the remaining quarter dependent 

on their full realisation of the revenue assessed 


Military organization 

An Emperor shall be ever Intent on Conquest, Ohterwise His enemies shall rise in arms against him. 

Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar, 

Akbar organized his army as well as the nobility by means of a system called the mansabdari. Under this system, 
each officer in the army was assigned a rank (a mansab), and assigned a number of cavalry that he had to supply to 
the imperial army. The mansabdars were divided into 33 classes. The top three commanding ranks, ranging from 
7000 to 10000 troops, were normally reserved for princes. Other ranks between 10 and 5000 were assigned to other 

members of the nobility. The empire's permanent standing army was quite small and the imperial forces mostly 

consisted of contingents maintained by the mansabdars. Persons were normally appointed to a low mansab and 

then promoted, based on their merit as well as the favour of the emperor. Each mansabdar was required to 

maintain a certain number of cavalrymen and twice that number of horses. The number of horses was greater 

because they had to be rested and rapidly replaced in times of war. Akbar employed strict measures to ensure that the 

quality of the armed forces was maintained at a high level; horses were regularly inspected and only Arabian horses 

were normally employed. The mansabdars were remunerated well for their services and constituted the highest 

paid military service in the world at the time 


Capital of the empire 

Diwan-i-Khas — Hall of Private Audience, 

Fatehpur Sikri is a city and a municipal board in 

Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. 

Built near the much older Sikri, the historical city 

of Fatehabad, as it was first named, was 

constructed by Akbar beginning in 1570, in 

honour of Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chisti 

Akbar was a follower of Salim Chishti, a holy man who lived in the 
region of Sikri near Agra. Believing the area to be a lucky one for 
himself, he had a mosque constructed there for the use of the priest. 
Subsequently, he celebrated the victories over Chittor and 
Ranthambore by laying the foundation of a new walled capital, 23 
miles (unknown operator: u'strong' km) west of Agra in 1569, which 
was named Fatehpur ("town of victory") after the conquest of Gujarat 

in 1573 and subsequently came to be known as Fatehpur Sikri in order 

to distinguish it from other similarly named towns. Palaces for each 

of Akbar's senior queens, a huge artificial lake, and sumptuous 

water-filled courtyards were built there. However, the city was soon 

abandoned and the capital was moved to Lahore in 1585. The reason 

may have been that the water supply in Fatehpur Sikri was insufficient 

or of poor quality. Or, as some historians believe, Akbar had to attend 

to the northwest areas of his empire and therefore moved his capital 

northwest. Other sources indicate Akbar simply lost interest in the 



city or realised it was not militarily defensible. In 1599, Akbar shifted his capital back to Agra from where he 
reigned until his death. 


Matrimonial alliances 

The practice of giving Hindu princesses to Muslim kings in marriage 
was known much before Akbar's time, but in most cases these 
marriages did not lead to any stable relations between the families 
involved, and the women were lost to their families and did not return 

r . ■ [57] [58] 

after marriage. 

However, Akbar's policy of matrimonial alliances marked a departure 
from india from previous practice in that the marriage itself marked the 
beginning of a new order of relations, wherein the Hindu Rajputs who 
married their daughters or sisters to him would be treated on par with 
his Muslim fathers-in-law and brothers in-law in all respects except 
being able to dine and pray with him or take Muslim wives. These 
Rajputs were made members of his court and their daughters' or sisters' 
marriage to a Muslim ceased to be a sign of degradation, except for 
certain orthodox elements who still considered it a sign of 

The Kacchwaha Rajput, Raja Bharmal, of Amber, who had come to 
Akbar's court shortly after the latter's accession, entered into an 
alliance by giving his daughter Harkha Bai (also called Jodhaa Bai) in 
marriage to the emperor. Harkha Bai became Muslim and was 

renamed Mariam-uz-Zamani. She died in 1623. A mosque was built in 
her honor by her son Jahangir in Lahore. Bharmal was made a noble 
of high rank in the imperial court, and subsequently his son Bhagwant Das and grandson Man Singh also rose to high 

Akbar leads the Mughal Army during a 

ranks in the nobility 


Other Rajput kingdoms also established matrimonial alliances with Akbar, but matrimony was not insisted on as a 
precondition for forming alliances. Two major Rajput clans remained aloof — the Sisodiyas of Mewar and Hadas of 
Ranthambore. In another turning point of Akbar's reign, Raja Man Singh I of Amber went with Akbar to meet the 
Hada leader, Surjan Hada, to effect an alliance. Surjan accepted an alliance on the condition that Akbar did not marry 

any of his daughters. Consequently, no matrimonial alliance was entered into, yet Surjan was made a noble and 

placed in charge of Garh-Katanga. Certain other Rajput nobles did not like the idea of their kings marrying their 

daughters to Mughals. Rathore Kalyandas threatened to kill both Mota Raja Rao Udaisingh and Jahangir because 

Udai Singh had decided to marry his daughter to Jahangir. Akbar on hearing this ordered imperial forces to attack 

Kalyandas at Siwana. Kalyandas died fighting along with his men and the women of Siwana committed Jauhar. 

The political effect of these alliances was significant. While some Rajput women who entered Akbar's harem 
converted to Islam, they were generally provided full religious freedom, and their relatives, who continued to remain 
Hindu, formed a significant part of the nobility and served to articulate the opinions of the majority of the common 


populace in the imperial court. The interaction between Hindu and Muslim nobles in the imperial court resulted in 
exchange of thoughts and blending of the two cultures. Further, newer generations of the Mughal line represented a 
merger of Mughal and Rajput blood, thereby strengthening ties between the two. As a result, the Rajputs became the 
strongest allies of the Mughals, and Rajput soldiers and generals fought for the Mughal army under Akbar, leading it 



in several campaigns including the conquest of Gujarat in 1572. Akbar's policy of religious tolerance ensured that 
employment in the imperial administration was open to all on merit irrespective of creed, and this led to an increase 
in the strength of the administrative services of the empire 


Another legend is that Akbar's daughter Meherunnissa was enamoured by Tansen and had a role in his coming to 
Akbar's court. Tansen converted to Islam from Hinduism, apparently on the eve of his marriage with Akbar's 

Relations with the Portuguese 

At the time of Akbar's ascension in 1556, the Portuguese had 
established several fortresses and factories on the western coast of the 
subcontinent, and largely controlled navigation and sea-trade in that 
region. As a consequence of this colonialism, all other trading entities 
were subject to the terms and conditions of the Portuguese, and this was 
resented by the rulers and traders of the time including Bahadur Shah of 



Death of Bahadur Shah of Gujarat at Diu, in 
front of the Portuguese in 1537. 

in the year 1572 the Mughal Empire annexed Gujarat and acquired its 
first access to the sea, the local officials informed Akbar that the 
Portuguese have begun to exert their control in the Indian Ocean. Hence 
Akbar's was conscious of the threat posed by the presence of the 
Portuguese, remained content with obtaining a cartaz (permit) from 
them for sailing in the Persian Gulf region. At the initial meeting of 
the Mughals and the Portuguese during the Siege of Surat in 1572, the 
Portuguese, recognising the superior strength of the Mughal army, chose 
to adopt diplomacy instead of war, and the Portuguese Governor, upon 
the request of Akbar, sent him an ambassador to establish friendly 


relations. Akbar's efforts to purchase and secure from the Portuguese 
some of their compact Artillery pieces were unsuccessful and that is the 
reason why Akbar could not establish the Mughal navy along the 

Gujarat coast 


Akbar accepted the offer of diplomacy, but the Portuguese continually acknowledged their authority and power in 
the Indian Ocean, in fact Akbar was highly concerned when he had to request a permit from the Portuguese before 


any ships from the Mughal Empire were to depart for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. In 1573, he 
issued a firman directing Mughal administrative officials in Gujarat not to provoke the Portuguese in the territory 
they held in Daman. The Portuguese, in turn, issued passes for the members of Akbar's family to go on Hajj to 
Mecca. The Portuguese made mention of the extraordinary status of the vessel and the special status to be accorded 
to its occupants. 

In the year 1579 Jesuits from Goa were allowed to visit the court of Akbar, the Jesuit did not confine themselves to 
the exposition of their own beliefs, but reviled Islam and the Prophet in unrestrained language. Their comments 
enraging the Imam's and Ulama, who objected to the remarks of the Jesuit, but Akbar however ordered their 
comments to be recorded and observed the Jesuits and their behavior carefully. This event was followed by a 
rebellion of Muslim clerics led by Mullah Muhammad Yazdi and Muiz-ul-Mulk, the chief Qadi of Bengal in the year 
1581, when these rebels wanted to overthrow Akbar and insert his brother Mirza Muhammad Hakim ruler of Kabul 

on the Mughal throne. Akbar however successfully defeated the rebels and had grown more cautious about his guests 

and his proclamations, which he later checked with his advisers carefully. 



Relations with the Ottoman Empire 

In the year 1555, while Akbar was still a child the Ottoman Admiral 
Seydi Ali Reis visited the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Later in the year 
1569, during the early years of Akbar's rule another Ottoman Admiral 
Kurtoglu Hizir Reis arrived on the shores of the Mughal Empire. These 
Ottoman Admirals sought to end the growing threats of the Portuguese 
Empire during their Indian Ocean campaigns. During his reign Akbar 
himself is known to have sent six documents addressing the Ottoman 
Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent 

[76] [77] 



In 1576 Akbar sent a very large contingent of pilgrims led by Khwaja 
Sultan Naqshbandi, Yahya Saleh, with 600,000 gold and silver coins 


and 12,000 Kaftans of honor and large consignments of rice. In Hejaz 

October 1576, the Mughal Emperor Akbar, sent a delegation including 

members of his family including his aunt Gulbadan Begum and his consort Salima, on Hajj by two ships from Surat 

including an Ottoman vessel, which reached the port of Jeddah in 1577 and then proceeded towards Mecca and 

Medina. Four more caravans were sent from 1577 to 1580, with exquisite gifts for the authorities of Mecca and 



The imperial Mughal entourage stayed in Mecca and Medina for nearly four years, and attended the Hajj four times. 
During this period Akbar even financed the the pilgrimages of many poor Muslims from the Mughal Empire and 


also funded the foundations of the Qadiriyya Sufi Order's dervish lodge in the Hijaz . The Mughals eventually set 
out for Surat and their return was assisted by the Ottoman Pasha in Jeddah. . Due to Akbar's attempts to build 
Mughal presence in Mecca and Medina, the local Sharif s began to have more confidence in the financial support 
provided by Mughal Empire, this lessened their dependency upon Ottoman bounty . Mughal-Ottoman trade also 
flourished during this period, in fact merchants loyal to Akbar are known to have reached and sold spices, dyestuff, 
cotton and shawls in the Bazaars of Aleppo after arriving and journeying upriver through the port of Basra. 

According to some accounts Mughal Emperor Akbar expressed a desire to form an alliance with the Portuguese, 
mainly in order to advance his interests, but whenever the Portuguese attempted to invade the Ottomans, the Mughal 
Emperor Akbar proved abortive. In 1587 a Portuguese fleet sent to attack Yemen was ferociously routed and 

defeated by the Ottoman Navy, thereafter the Mughal-Portuguese alliance, immediately collapsed mainly due to the 

continuing pressure by the Mughal Empire's prestigious vassals at Janjira 


Relations with the Safavid Dynasty 

The Safavids and the Mughals had a long history of diplomatic 
relationship, with the Safavid ruler Tahmasp I having provided 
refuge to Humayun when he had to flee the Indian subcontinent 
following his defeat by Sher Shah Suri. During the[\]][.] [.' 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the two empires, along with 
the Ottoman Empire to the west, were the site of major power 
struggles in Asia. However, the Safavids differed from the 
Mughals and the Ottomans in following the Shiite sect of Islam as 
opposed to the Sunni sect practised by the other two. One of the 
longest standing disputes between the Safavids and the Mughals 
pertained to the control of the city of Qandahar in the Hindukush 

region, forming the border between the two empires. The Hindukush region was militarily very significant owing 

to its geography, and this was well-recognised by strategists of the times. Consequently, the city, which was being 

The Akbari Mosque, overlooking the Ganges. 

Akbar 28 

administered by Bairam Khan at the time of Akbar' s accession, was invaded and captured by the Persian ruler Husain 

Mirza, a cousin of Tahmasp I, in 1558. Subsequent to this, Bairam Khan sent an envoy to Tahmasp I's court, in an 

effort to maintain peaceful relations with the Safavids. This gesture was reciprocated and a cordial relationship 

continued to prevail between the two empires during the first two decades of Akbar's reign. However, the death of 

Tahmasp I in 1576 resulted in civil war and instability in the Safavid empire, and diplomatic relations between the 

two empires ceased for more than a decade, and were restored only in 1587 following the accession of Shah Abbas 

to the Safavid throne. Shortly afterwards, Akbar's army completed its annexation of Kabul, and in order to further 

secure the north-western boundaries of his empire, it proceeded to Qandahar. The city capitulated without resistance 

on April 18, 1595, and the ruler Muzaffar Hussain moved into Akbar's court. Qandahar continued to remain in 

Mughal possession, and the Hindukush the empire's western frontier, for several decades until Shah Jahan's 

expedition into Badakhshan in 1646. Diplomatic relations continued to be maintained between the Safavid and 

Mughal courts until the end of Akbar's reign. 

Relations with other medieval kingdoms 

Vincent Arthur Smith observes that the merchant Mildenhall was employed in 1600 while the establishment of the 

Company was under adjustment to bear a letter from Queen Elizabeth to Akbar requesting liberty to trade in his 

dominions on terms as good as those enjoyed by the Portuguese. 

Akbar was also visited by the French explorer Pierre Malherbe. 

Religious policy 

Akbar, as well as his mother and other members of his family, are believed to have been Sunni Hanafi Muslims. 

His early days were spent in the backdrop of an atmosphere in which liberal sentiments were encouraged and 

religious narrow-mindednness was frowned upon. From the 15th century, a number of rulers in various parts of 

the country adopted a more liberal policy of religious tolerance, attempting to foster communal harmony between 

Hindus and Muslims. These sentiments were earlier encouraged by the teachings of popular saints like Guru 

Nanak, Kabir and Chaitanya, the verses of the Persian poet Hafez which advocated human sympathy and a 

liberal outlook, as well as the Timurid ethos of religious tolerance that persisted in the polity right from the times 

of Timur to Humayun, and influenced Akbar's policy of tolerance in matters of religion. Further, his childhood 

tutors, who included two Irani Shias, were largely above sectarian prejudices, and made a significant contribution to 

Akbar's later inclination towards religious tolerance. 

One of Akbar's first actions after gaining actual control of the administration was the abolition of jizya, a tax which 
all non-Muslims were required to pay, in 1562. The tax was reinstated in 1575, a move which has been 
viewed as being symbolic of vigorous Islamic policy, but was again repealed in 1580. Akbar adopted the 
Sulh-e-Kul (or Peace to All) concept of Sufism as official policy, integrated many Hindus into high positions in the 
administration, and removed restrictions on non-Muslims, thereby bringing about a composite and diverse character 
to the nobility. As a mark of his respect for all religions, he ordered the observance of all religious festivals 

of different communities in the imperial court. 



Relation with Jains 

Akbar regularly held discussions with Jain scholars and was also 
greatly impacted by some of their teachings. His first encounter with 
Jain rituals was when he saw a Jain shravika named Champa's 
procession after a six month long fast. Impressed by her power and 
devotion, he invited her guru or spiritual teacher AcharyaHiravijaya 
Suri to Fatehpur Sikri. Acharya accepted the invitation and began his 
march towards the Mughal capital from Gujarat 


Akbar was greatly impressed by the scholastic qualities and character 
of the Acharya. He held several debates and discussions on religion 
and philosophy in his courts. Arguing with Jains, Akbar remained 
sceptical of their rituals, and yet became convinced by their arguments 

for vegetarianism and ended up deploring the eating of all flesh 


The Indian Supreme Court too has cited examples of co-existence of 
Jain and Mughal architecture. Terming Mughal emperor Akbar as "the 
architect of modem India", a bench said that Akbar, who had great 
respect for Jainism, had declared "Amari Ghosana" banning the killing 
of animals during Paryushan and Mahavir Jayanti. He rolled back the 
Jazia tax from Jain pilgrim places like Palitana. These farmans were 

also issued in 1592, 1584 and 1598 


The Mughal Emperor Akbar triumphantly enters 

Relations with Shias and Islamic clergy 

During the early part of his reign, Akbar adopted an attitude of suppression towards Muslim sects that were 
condemned by the orthodoxy as heretical. In 1567, on the advice of Shaikh Abdu'n Nabi, he ordered the 
exhumation of Mir Murtaza Sharifi Shirazi - a Shia buried in Delhi - because of the grave's proximity to that of Amir 
Khusrau, arguing that a "heretic" could not be buried so close to the grave of a Sunni saint, reflecting a restrictive 
attitude towards the Shia, which continued to persist till the early 1570s. He suppressed Mahdavism in 1573 
during his campaign in Gujarat, in the course of which the Mahdavi leader Bandagi Miyan Shiek Mustafa was 
arrested and brought in chains to the court for debate and released after eighteen months. However, as Akbar 
increasingly came under the influence of pantheistic Sufi mysticism from the early 1570s, it caused a great shift in 
his outlook and culminated in his shift from orthodox Islam as traditionally professed, in favor of a new concept of 
Islam transcending the limits of religion. Consequently, during the latter half of his reign, he adopted a policy of 
tolerance towards the Shias and declared a prohibition on Shia-Sunni conflict, and the empire remained neutral in 
matters of internal sectarian conflict. 

In the year 1578, the Mughal Emperor Akbar famously referred to himself 

Emperor of Islam, Emir of the Faithful, Shadow of God on earth, AbulFath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar Badshah Ghazi (whose empire 
Allah perpetuate), is a most just, most wise, and a most God-fearing rider. 



In 1580, a rebellion broke out in the eastern part of 

Akbar's empire, and a number of fatwas, declaring 

Akbar to be a heretic, were issued by Qazis. Akbar 

suppressed the rebellion and handed out severe 

punishments to the Qazis. In order to further strengthen 

his position in dealing with the Qazis, Akbar issued a 

mazhar or declaration that was signed by all major 

ulemas in 1579. The mahzar asserted that 

Akbar was the Khalifa of the age, the rank of the 

Khalifa was higher than that of a Mujtahid, in case of a 

difference of opinion among the Mujtahids, Akbar 

could select any one opinion and could also issue 

decrees which did not go against the nass. Given the prevailing Islamic sectarian conflicts in various parts of the 

country at that time, it is believed that the Mazhar helped in stabilizing the religious situation in the empire. It 

made Akbar very powerful due to the complete supremacy accorded to the Khalifa by Islam, and also helped him 

eliminate the religious and political influence of the Ottoman Khalifa over his subjects, thus ensuring their complete 

loyalty to him. 

Silver coin of Akbar with inscriptions of the Islamic declaration of 

faith, the declaration reads: "There is none worthy of worship but 

God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God." 

Throughout his reign the Mughal Emperor Akbar was a patron of influential Muslim scholars such as Mir Ahmed 
Nasrallah Thattvi and Tahir Muhammad Thattvi. 




Akbar was deeply interested in religious and philosophical 
matters. An orthodox Muslim at the outset, he later came to be 
influenced by Sufi mysticism that was being preached in the 
country at that time, and moved away from orthodoxy, appointing 
to his court several talented people with liberal ideas, including 
Abul Fazl, Faizi and Birbal. In 1575, he built a hall called the 
Ibadat Khana {"House of Worship") at Fatehpur Sikri, to which he 
invited theologians, mystics and selected courtiers renowned for 
their intellectual achievements and discussed matters of spirituality 
with them. These discussions, initially restricted to Muslims, 
were acrimonious and resulted in the participants shouting at and 
abusing each other. Upset by this, Akbar opened the Ibadat Khana 
to people of all religions as well as atheists, resulting in the scope 
of the discussions broadening and extending even into areas such 
as the validity of the Quran and the nature of God. This shocked 
the orthodox theologians, who sought to discredit Akbar by 
circulating rumours of his desire to forsake Islam. Akbar's 

choices, decisions, decrees, discussions and regulations on 
religious matters even caused some of his brilliant courtiers like 
Qutb-ud-din Khan Koka and Shahbaz Khan Kamboh to criticize 
the emperor in the court. 

Akbar's effort to evolve a meeting point among the representatives 

of various religions was not very successful, as each of them 

attempted to assert the superiority of their respective religions by 

denouncing other religions. Meanwhile, the debates at the Ibadat 

Khana grew more acrimonious and, contrary to their purpose of leading to a better understanding among religions, 

instead led to greater bitterness among them, resulting to the discontinuance of the debates by Akbar in 1582. 

However, his interaction with various religious theologians had convinced him that despite their differences, all 

religions had several good practices, which he sought to combine into a new religious movement known as 

Din-i-Ilahi. However, some modern scholars claim that Akbar did not initiate a new religion and did not use 

the word Din-i-Ilahi. According to the contemporary events in the Mughal court Akbar was indeed angered by 

Akbar holds a religious assembly of different faiths in 
the Ibadat Khana in Fatehpur Sikri. 

the acts of embezzlement of wealth by many high level Muslim clerics 


The purported Din-i-Ilahi was more of an ethical system and is said to have prohibited lust, sensuality, slander and 
pride, considering them sins. Piety, prudence, abstinence and kindness are the core virtues. The soul is encouraged to 
purify itself through yearning of God. Celibacy was respected, chastity enforced, the slaughter of animals was 
forbidden and there were no sacred scriptures or a priestly hierarchy. However, a leading Noble of Akbar's court, 
Aziz Koka, wrote a letter to him from Mecca in 1594 arguing that the discipleship promoted by Akbar amounted to 

nothing more than a desire on Akbar's part to portray his superiority regarding religious matters To 

n 27i n 2Ri 
commemorate Din-e-Ilahi, he changed the name of Prayag to Allahabad (pronounced as ilahabad) in 1583. 

It has been argued that the theory of Din-i-Ilahi being a new religion was a misconception which arose due to 

erroneous translations of Abul Fazl's work by later British historians. However, it is also accepted that the policy 

of sulh-e-kul, which formed the essence of Din-i-Ilahi, was adopted by Akbar not merely for religious purposes, but 

as a part of general imperial administrative policy. This also formed the basis for Akbar's policy of religious 

toleration. At the time of Akbar's death in 1605 there were no signs of discontent amongst his Muslim subjects 

and the impression of even a theologian like Abdu'l Haq was that close ties remained. 



Square rupee of Akbar 

Historical accounts 


Akbar's reign was chronicled extensively by his court historian Abul Fazal in the 
books Akbarnama and Ain-i-akbari. Other contemporary sources of Akbar's 
reign include the works of Badayuni, Shaikhzada Rashidi and Shaikh Ahmed 

Akbar was an artisan, warrior, artist, armourer, blacksmith, carpenter, emperor, 
general, inventor, animal trainer (reputedly keeping thousands of hunting 
cheetahs during his reign and training many himself), lacemaker, technologist 
and theologian. 

Akbar was said to have been a wise emperor and a sound judge of character. His 
son and heir, Jahangir, wrote effusive praise of Akbar's character in his memoirs, 
and dozens of anecdotes to illustrate his virtues. According to Jahangir, 

Akbar was "of the hue of wheat; his eyes and eyebrows were black and his 
complexion rather dark than fair". Antoni de Montserrat, the Catalan Jesuit who 
visited his court described him as follows: 

"One could easily recognize even at first glance that he is King. He has broad 
shoulders, somewhat bandy legs well-suited for horsemanship, and a light brown 
complexion. He carries his head bent towards the right shoulder. His forehead is 
broad and open, his eyes so bright and flashing that they seem like a sea 
shimmering in the sunlight. His eyelashes are very long. His eyebrows are not 
strongly marked. His nose is straight and small though not insignificant. His 
nostrils are widely open as though in derision. Between the left nostril and the 
upper lip there is a mole. He shaves his beard but wears a moustache. He limps in 
his left leg though he has never received an injury there 


Akbar was not tall but powerfully built and very agile. He was also noted for 
various acts of courage. One such incident occurred on his way back from Malwa 
to Agra when Akbar was 19 years of age. 

Akbar rode alone in advance of his escort and was confronted by a tigress who, 
along with her cubs, came out from the shrubbery across his path. When the 
tigress charged the emperor, he was alleged to have dispatched the animal with 
his sword in a solitary blow. His approaching attendants found the emperor 

standing quietly by the side of the dead animal 


Akbar hunting with cheetahs, c. 1602 

Akbar on an elephant 

Abul Fazal, and even the hostile critic Badayuni, described him as having a commanding personality. He was 
notable for his command in battle, and, "like Alexander of Macedon, was always ready to risk his life, regardless of 

Akbar 33 

political consequences". He often plunged on his horse into the flooded river during the rainy seasons and safely 
crossed it. He rarely indulged in cruelty and is said to have been affectionate towards his relatives. He pardoned his 
brother Hakim, who was a repented rebel. But on rare occasions, he dealt cruelly with offenders, such as his maternal 
uncle Muazzam and his foster-brother Adham Khan, who was twice defenestrated for drawing Akbar's wrath. 

He is said to have been extremely moderate in his diet. Ain-e-Akbari mentions that during his travels and also while 
at home, Akbar drank water from the Ganges river, which he called 'the water of immortality'. Special people were 
stationed at Sorun and later Haridwar to dispatch water, in sealed jars, to wherever he was stationed. According 
to Jahangir's memoirs, he was fond of fruits and had little liking for meat, which he stopped eating in his later years. 
He was more religiously tolerant than many of the Muslim rulers before and after him. Jahangir wrote: 

"As in the wide expanse of the Divine compassion there is room for all classes and the followers of all creeds, so... in 
his dominions, ... there was room for the professors of opposite religions, and for beliefs good and bad, and the road 
to altercation was closed. Sunnis and Shias met in one mosque, and Franks and Jews in one church, and observed 
their own forms of worship. " 

To defend his stance that speech arose from hearing, he carried out a language deprivation experiment, and had 
children raised in isolation, not allowed to be spoken to, and pointed out that as they grew older, they remained 

. [137] 


Akbar is also said to have thrown a man out of a window, then grab his body and proceed to throw him out again to 
make sure he was dead. 


During Akbar's reign, the ongoing process of inter-religious discourse and syncretism resulted in a series of religious 
attributions to him in terms of positions of assimilation, doubt or uncertainty, which he either assisted himself or left 

ri 391 

unchallenged. Such hagiographical accounts of Akbar traversed a wide range of denominational and sectarian 
spaces, including several accounts by Parsis, Jains and Jesuit missionaries, apart from contemporary accounts by 
Brahminical and Muslim orthodoxy. Existing sects and denominations, as well as various religious figures who 
represented popular worship felt they had a claim to him. The diversity of these accounts is attributed to the fact that 
his reign resulted in the formation of a flexible centralised state accompanied by personal authority and cultural 



Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar 

The Akbarnama (Persian: ILU ^il), which literally means Book of 
Akbar, is a official biographical account of Akbar, the third 
Mughal Emperor (r. 1542—1605), written in Persian. It includes 
vivid and detailed descriptions of his life and times 


The work was commissioned by Akbar, and written by Abul Fazl, 
one of the Nine Jewels (Hindi: Navaratnas) of Akbar's royal court. 
It is stated that the book took seven years to be completed and the 
original manuscripts contained a number of paintings supporting 
the texts, and all the paintings represented the Mughal school of 
painting, and work of masters of the imperial workshop, including 
Basawan, whose use of portraiture in its illustrations was an 
innovation in Indian art 


Abu'1-Fazl ibn Mubarak presenting Akbarnama to 
Akbar, Mughal miniature 

Death and legacy 

On 3 October 1605, Akbar fell ill with an attack of dysentery, 
from which he never recovered. He is believed to have died on or 
about 27 October 1605, after which his body was buried at a 
mausoleum in Sikandra, Agra. 

Akbar left behind a rich legacy both for the Mughal Empire as 
well as the Indian subcontinent in general. He firmly entrenched 
the authority of the Mughal empire in India and beyond, after it 
had been threatened by the Afghans during his father's reign, 


establishing its military and diplomatic superiority. During his 
reign, the nature of the state changed to a secular and liberal one, 
with emphasis on cultural integration. He also introduced several 
far-sighted social reforms, including prohibiting sati, legalising 
widow remarriage and raising the age of marriage. 

The Mughal descendants include Imran Mughal Imran (1986— present) who resides in Old Lahore, Pakistan. 

Gate of Akbar's mausoleum at Sikandra, Agra, 1795 



Citing Akbar's melding of the disparate 'fiefdoms' of India into the Mughal 
Empire as well as the lasting legacy of "pluralism and tolerance" that 
"underlies the values of the modern republic of India", Time magazine 
included his name in its list of top 25 world leaders. 

In popular culture 

• In 2008, director Ashutosh Gowariker released a film telling the story of 
Akbar and his wife Hira Kunwari (known more popularly as Jodha Bai), 
titled Jodhaa Akbar. Akbar was played by Hrithik Roshan and Jodhaa was 
played by Aishwarya Rai. 

• Akbar was portrayed in the award-winning 1960 Hindi movie 
Mughal-e-Azam (The great Mughal), in which his character was played by 
Prithviraj Kapoor. 

Akbar receives an embassy sent by 
Queen Elizabeth 

• Akbar and Birbal were portrayed in the Hindi series Akbar-Birbal aired on Zee TV in late 1990s where Akbar's 
role was essayed by Vikram Gokhale. 

• A television series, called Akbar the Great, directed by Sanjay Khan was aired on DD National in the 1990s. 

• A fictionalized Akbar plays an important supporting role in Kim Stanley Robinson's 2002 novel, The Years of 
Rice and Salt. 

• Akbar is also a major character in Salman Rushdie's 2008 novel The Enchantress of Florence. 

• Amartya Sen uses Akbar as a prime example in his books The Argumentative Indian and Violence and Identity. 

• Bertrice Small is known for incorporating historical figures as primary characters in her romance novels, and 
Akbar is no exception. He is a prominent figure in two of her novels, and mentioned several times in a third, 
which takes place after his death. In This Heart of Mine the heroine becomes Akbar's fortieth "wife" for a time, 
while Wild Jasmine and Darling Jasmine centre around the life of his half-British daughter, Yasaman Kama 
Begum (alias Jasmine). 

• Akbar is featured in the video game Sid Meier's Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword as a "great general" available in 
the game. 

• Akbar is also the AI Personality of India in the renowned game Age of Empires UI: The Asian Dynasties. 

• The violin concerto nicknamed "II Grosso Mogul" written by Antonio Vivaldi in the 1720s, and listed in the 
standard catalogue as RV 208, is considered to be indirectly inspired by Akbar's reign. 

• In Kunal Basu's The Miniaturist, the story revolves around a young painter during Akbar's time who paints his 
own version of the Akbarnamu' 

• Akbar is mentioned as 'Raja Baadshah' in the Chhattisgarhi folktale of Mohna de gori kayina 

• Akbar is the main character in Empire of the Moghul: Ruler of the World, the third book in a quintet based on the 
5 great Mughal Emperors of the Mughal Dynasty by Alex Rutherford. 

• Akbar is the protagonist in Dirk Collier's historical novel The Emperor's Writings, Memories of Akbar the Great' 
(Delhi, 201 1; translated into Dutch under the title Afscheid van de keizer'), a fictional autobiography in which 
Akbar speaks to his son Jahangir, via a series of posthumous letters. 




[1] Google Images (http://www. google. com. pk/imgres?q=akbarnama&hl=en&biw=1024&bih=673&tbm=isch& 




AKBAR'S DREAM. . Retrieved 18 May 2011. 

[3] Conversion of Islamic and Christian dates (Dual) ( As per the date convertor Baadshah 
Akbar's birth date, as per Humayun nama, of 04 Rajab, 949 AH, corresponds to 14 October 1542. 

[4] Majumdar 1984, p. 104 

[5] Fazl, Abul. Akbarnama Volume II. 

[6] Prasad, Ishwari (1970). The life and times of Humayun (http://scholar. google. com/scholar?q=Ishwari Prasad life and times of humayun& 
hl=en&lr=&oi=scholart). . 

[7] "Akbar" ( Columbia Encyclopedia. 2008. . Retrieved 30 May 2008. 

[8] Maurice S. Dimand (1953). "Mughal Painting under Akbar the Great". The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12 (2): 46—51. 
JSTOR 3257529. 

[9] Habib 1997, p. 84 










Subrahmanyam, Sanjay (2005). Mughals and Franks. Oxford University Press, p. 55. ISBN 9780195668667. 

Habib 1997, p. 85 

Hoyland, J.S.; Banerjee S.N. (1996). Commentary of Father Monserrate, S.J: On his journey to the court of Akbar, Asean Educational 
Services Published. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, p. 57. ISBN 8120608070. 

Banjerji, S.K.. Humayun Badshah. 

Fazl, Abul. Akbarnama Volume I. 

"Gurdas" (http://web.archive.Org/web/20080527210721/ Government of Punjab. 
Archived from the original ( on 27 May 2008. . Retrieved 30 May 2008. 

History (http://gurdaspur.nic. in/html/profile. htm#history) Gurdaspur district website. 

Chandra 2007, p. 226 

Smith 2002, p. 337 

Islamic Mughal Empire: War Elephants Part 3 - YouTube ( 

Warrior Empire-The Mughals 3/9 - YouTube ( 

Islamic Mughal Empire: War Elephants Part 2 - YouTube ( 

Majumdar 1984, pp. 104-105 

Chandra 2007, pp. 226-227 

Chandra 2007, p. 227 

Habib 1997, p. 3 

Smith 2002, p. 339 

Chandra 2007, p. 228 

Painting - Akbar directing the attack against Rai Surjan Hada at Ranthambhor Fort - Victoria & Albert Museum - Search the Collections 

Habib 1997, p. 4 

Chandra 2007, p. 229 

Chandra 2007, p. 230 

Chandra 2007, p. 231 

Warrior Empire-The Mughals 4/9 - YouTube ( 

Smith 2002, p. 342 

Chandra, Dr. Satish (2001). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals. Har Anand Publications, p. 107. ISBN 8124105227. 

Payne, Tod (1994). Tod's Annals of Rajasthan: The Annals ofMewar. Asian Educational Services, p. 71. ISBN 8120603508. 

Smith 2002, p. 343 

Watson, C.C. (1904). Rajputana District Gazetteers. Scottish Mission Industries Co., Ltd.. p. 17. 

Hastings, James (2003). Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Part 10. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0766136825. 

James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajast'han or the Central and Western Rajpoot States of India, 2 vols. London, Smith, Elder (1829, 
1832); New Delhi, Munshiram Publishers, (2001), pp. 83-4. ISBN 8170691281 

Chandra 2007, p. 232 

Smith 2002, p. 344 

Chandra 2007, pp. 240-241 

Habib 1997, p. 15 

Chandra 2007, p. 233 

Akbar 37 

[47] Chandra 2007, p. 234 

[48] Chandra 2007, p. 236 

[49] Moosvi 2008, p. 160 

[50] Chandra 2007, p. 235 

[51] Moosvi 2008, pp. 164-165 

[52] Moosvi 2008, p. 165 

[53] Smith 2002, p. 359 

[54] Chandra 2007, p. 238 

[55] Chandra 2007, p. 237 

[56] Petersen, A. (1996). Dictionary of Islamic Architecture. New York: Routledge. 

[57] Chandra 2007, p. 243 

[58] Sarkar 1984, p. 37 

[59] Sarkar 1984, p. 36 

[60] Chandra 2007, pp. 242-243 

[61] Nath 1982, p. 52 

[62] Alam, Muzaffar; Subrahmanyam, Sanjay (1998). The Mughal State, 1526-1750. Oxford University Press, p. 177. ISBN 9780195639056. 

[63] Sarkar 1984, pp. 38-40 

[64] Sarkar 1984, p. 38 

[65] Maryam Juzer Kherulla (12 October 2002). "Profile: Tansen — the mesmerizing maestro" ( 

021012/yworld5.htm). Dawn (newspaper). . Retrieved 2 October 2007. 
[66] India Divided, By Rajendra Prasad, pg. 63 
[67] A History of Hindi Literature, By F. E. Keay, pg. 36 
[68] The Cambridge history of the British Empire, Volume 2 by Arthur Percival Newton p. 14 ( 

books?id=Y-08AA AAIAAJ&pg=PA 14) 
[69] Habib 1997, p. 256 
[70] Habib 1997, pp. 256-257 
[71] Habib 1997, p. 259 

[72] part2_16 ( 
[73] part2_19 ( 
[74] Habib 1997, p. 260 

[75] part2_12 ( 
[76] Six Ottoman Documents On Mughal-Ottoman Relations During The Reign Of Akbar (http://jis.oxfordjournals.Org/content/7/l/32. 

[77] Book Reviews : NAIMUR RAHMAN FAROOQI, Mughal-Ottoman Relations: A Study of the Political and Diplomatic Relations between 

Mughal India and the Ottoman Empire, 1556-1748, Delhi... (http://ier.sagepub.eom/content/31/2/249.extract) 
[78] Mughal-Ottoman relations: a study of political & diplomatic relations ... - Naimur Rahman Farooqi - Google Boeken (http://books. google. 

[79] Moosvi 2008, p. 246 

[80] Ottoman court chroniclers (1578). Muhimme Defterleri, Vol. 32 f 292 firman 740, Shahan 986. 
[81] Khan, Iqtidar Alam (1999). Akbar and his age. Northern Book Centre, p. 218. ISBN 97881721 11083. 


[83] Mughal-Ottoman relations: a study of political & diplomatic relations ... - Naimur Rahman Farooqi - Google Boeken (http://books. google. 



[85] ?id=Fy-C2gHkpecC&pg=PA180&lpg=PA180&dq=Evliya+%C3%87elebi+and+native+ 


[86] Mughal-Ottoman relations: a study of political & diplomatic relations ... - Naimur Rahman Farooqi - Google Boeken (http://books. google. 

[87] Majumdar 1984, p. 158 

[88] Ottoman court chroniclers (1588). Muhimme Defterleri, Vol. 62 f 205 firman 457, Avail Rabiulavval 996. 
[89] AU2006, p. 94 
[90] Majumdar 1984, p. 153 
[91] Ali 2006, pp. 327-328 
[92] Majumdar 1984, p. 154 

Akbar 38 

[93] Majumdar 1984, pp. 154-155 

[94] Majumdar 1984, pp. 153-154 

[95] Ali 2006, p. 327 

[96] Majumdar 1984, p. 155 

[97] VA Smith (1919). Akbar the Great Moghul. Oxford, p. 292. 

[98] Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume III: A Century of Advance. Book I by Donald F. Lach.Edwin J. Van Kley p. 393 (http://books. 
[99] Habib 1997, p. 80 
[100] Chandra 2007, p. 253 
[101] Chandra 2007, p. 252 
[102] Hasan 2007, p. 72 
[103] Habib 1997, p. 81 

[104] Day, Upendra Nath (1970). The Mughal Government, A.D. 1556- J 707. Munshiram Manoharlal. p. 134. 
[105] Ali 2006, p. 159 

[106] Dasgupta, Ajit Kumar (1993). History of Indian Economic Thought. Routledge. p. 45. ISBN 0415061954. 
[107] Ali 2006, pp. 164-165 
[108] Hasan 2007, pp. 72-73 
[109] Hasan 2007, p. 73 

[110] Sanghmitra. Jain Dharma ke Prabhavak Acharya. Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnu. 
[Ill] Sen, Amartya (2005). "13". The Argumentative Indian. Allen Lane. ISBN 0713996870. 
[112] "Ahmedabad turned Akbar veggie" ( 

articleshow/5259184.cms). The Times of India. 23 November 2009. . Retrieved 23 November 2009. 
[113] Habib 1997, p. 86 
[114] Ali 2006, pp. 165-166 
[115] Chandra 2007, p. 254 
[116] Ali 2006, p. 159 
[117] Hasan 2007, p. 79 
[118] Hasan 2007, pp. 82-83 
[119] Chandra 2007, p. 255 
[120] Chandra 2007, p. 256 
[121] "Din-i Ilahi — Britannica Online Encyclopedia" ( . 

Retrieved 18 July 2009. 
[122] Sharma, Sri Ram (1988). The Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, p. 42. ISBN 8121503957. 
[123] Smith 2002, p. 348 
[124] Roy Choudhury, Makhan Lai (1941), The Din-i-Ilahi, or, The religion of Akbar (3rd ed.), New Delhi: Oriental Reprint (published 1985, 

1997), ISBN 8121507774 
[125] Majumdar 1984, p. 138 

[126] Koka.Aziz (1594). King's College Collection, MS 194. This letter is preserved in Cambridge University Library, p. ff.5b-8b. 
[127] Conder, Josiah (1828). The Modern Traveller: a popular description. R.H.Tims, p. 282. 
[128] Deefholts, Margaret; Deefholts, Glenn; Acharya, Quentine (2006). The Way We Were: Anglo-Indian Cronicles. Calcutta Tiljallah Relief 

Inc. p. 87. ISBN 0975463934. 
[129] Ali 2006, pp. 163-164 
[130] Ali 2006, p. 164 
[131] Habib 1997, p. 96 

[132] Habib, Irfan (1992). "Akbar and Technology". Social Scientist 20 (9-10): 3-15. doi: 10.2307/35 17712. 
[133] Jahangir (1600s). Tuzk-e-Jahangiri (Memoirs of Jahangir). 
[134] ("Portraits of Akbar, the Great Mughal" by Tancred Borenius The Burlington Magazine for 

Connoisseurs Vol. 82, No. 480 (Mar., 1943), pp. 54+67-68 
[135] Garbe, Richard von (1909). Akbar, Emperor of India. Chicago-The Open Court Publishing Company. 
[136] Hardwar ( Ain-e-Akbari, by Abul Fazl Allami, 

Volume I, ATN 22. The A'bda'r Kha'nah. P 55. Translated from the original persian, by H. Blochmann, and Colonel H. S. Jarrett, Asiatic 

society of Bengal. Calcutta, 1873 - 1907. 
[137] "1200 — 1750" ( University of Hamburg. . Retrieved 30 May 

[138] Bentley, Jerry (2008). Traditions and Encounters, 4th Edition. Traditions and Encounters. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0073330671. 
[139] Sangari 2007, p. 497 
[140] Sangari 2007, p. 475 
[141] Illustration from the Akbarnama: History of Akbar ( Art Institute of 


Akbar 39 

[142] Majumdar 1984, pp. 168-169 
[143] Habib 1997, p. 79 
[144] Majumdar 1984, p. 170 
[145] Chandra 2006, pp. 257-258 

[146] Tharoor, Ishaan (4 February 201 1). "Top 25 Political Icons: Akbar the Great" ( 
0,28804,2046285_2045996_2046303,00.html). Time magazine. . 


• Ali, M. Athar (2006). Mughal India: Studies in Polity, Ideas, Society and Culture. Oxford University Press. 
ISBN 9780195696615. 

• Chandra, Satish (2007). History of Medieval India. New Delhi: Orient Longman. ISBN 9788125032267. 

• Habib, Man (1997). Akbar and His India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195637915. 

• Hasan, Nurul (2007). Religion, State and Society in Medieval India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. 
ISBN 9780195696608. 

• Moosvi, Shireen (2008). People, Taxation and Trade in Mughal India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. 
ISBN 9780195693157. 

• Nath, R. (1982). History of Mughal Architecture. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 9788170171591. 

• Sangari, Kumkum (2007). "Akbar: The Name of a Conjuncture". In Grewal, J.S.. The State and Society in 
Medieval India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 475-501. ISBN 9780195667202. 

• Sarkar, Jadunath (1984). A History of Jaipur. New Delhi: Orient Longman. ISBN 8125003339. 

• Smith, Vincent A. (2002). The Oxford History of India. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195612974. 

Further reading 

• Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak Akbar-namah Edited with commentary by Muhammad Sadiq Ali (Kanpur-Lucknow: 
Nawal Kishore) 1881—3 Three Vols. (Persian) 

• Abu al-Fazl ibn Mubarak Akbarnamah Edited by Maulavi Abd al-Rahim. Bibliotheca Indica Series (Calcutta: 
Asiatic Society of Bengal) 1877-1887 Three Vols. (Persian) 

• Henry Beveridge (Trans.) The Akbarnama of Ab-ul-Fazl Bibliotheca Indica Series (Calcutta: Asiatic Society of 
Bengal) 1897 Three Vols. 

• Haji Muhammad Arif Qandahari Tarikh-i-Akbari (Better known as Tarikh-i-Qandahari) edited & Annotated by 
Haji Mu'in'd-Din Nadwi, Dr. Azhar Ali Dihlawi & Imtiyaz Ali Arshi (Rampur Raza Library) 1962 (Persian) 

• Marti Escayol, Maria Antonia. "Antoni de Montserrat in the Mughal Garden of good government European 
construction of Indian nature", Word, Image, Text; Studies in Literary and Visual Culture, ed. Shormistha Panja et 
al, Orient Blacksw an, New Delhi, 2009. ISBN : 978-81-250-3735 

• Satyananda Giri,AKBAR,Trafford Publishing, 2009JSBN : 978-1-42691-561-1 

• Augustus, Frederick; (tr. by Annette Susannah Beveridge) (1890). The Emperor Akbar, a contribution towards 
the history of India in the 16th century (Vol. 1) ( 
emperorakbaraco00buchgoog#page/n8/mode/lup). Thacker, Spink and Co., Calcutta. 

• Augustus, Frederick; (tr. by Annette Susannah Beveridge) (1890). Gustav von Buchwald. ed. The Emperor Akbar, 
a contribution towards the history of India in the 16th century (Vol. 2) ( 
emperorakbaraco00augugoog#page/n4/mode/lup). Thacker, Spink and Co., Calcutta. 

• Malleson, Colonel G B. (1899). Rulers Of India: Akbar And The Rise Of The Mughal Empire (http://www. 
archive. org/stream/rulersofindiaakb009177mbp#page/n7/mode/2up). Oxford at the Clarendon Press. 

• Garbe, Dr.Richard von (1909). Akbar - Emperor of India. A picture of life and customs from the sixteenth century 
(http://www.archive.Org/stream/akbaremperorofin00garb#page/n7/mode/2up). The Opencourt Publishing 
Company, Chicago. 

Akbar 40 

• Akbar, Emperor of India by Richard von Garbe 1857-1927 - (ebook) ( 

• The Adventures of Akbar by Flora Annie Steel, 1847-1929 -(ebook) ( 

• Smith, Vincent Arthur (1917). Akbar the Great Mogul, 1542-1605 ( 
cu31924024056503#page/n7/mode/2up). Oxford at The Clarendon Press. 

• Havell, E. B. (1918). The History of Aryan Rule In India from the earliest times to the death of Akbar (http:// 
www. archive. org/stream/historyofaryanru00have#page/n9/mode/2up). Frederick A. Stokes Co., New York. 

• Moreland, W. H. (1920). India at the death of Akbar: An economic study ( 
cu31924022895001#page/n5/mode/2up). Macmillan & Co., London. 

• Monserrate, Father Antonio (1922). The commentary of Father Monserrate, S.J., on his journey to the court of 
Akbar (http://www.archive.Org/stream/commentaryoffath00monsuoft#page/n7/mode/2up). Oxford 
University Press. 

External links 

The Career of Akbar the Great ( 1/09/career-of-akbar-great.html) 

Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar ( The Great 

Akbar, Emperor of India by Richard von Garbe' ( at Project Gutenberg 

The Mughals: Akbar ( AKBAR.HTM) 

The Mughal Emperor Akbar: World of Biography ( 

History of the friendship between Akbar and Birbal ( 


Photos of Akbar The Great's final resting place (http://www.panoramio.eom/user/l 16638/tags/ Akbar) 

Alain I of Albret 


Alain I of Albret 

Alain I of Albret 

Coat of arms of Albret 

Noble family 



Francoise de Blois-Bretagne, Comtesse de Perigord 
House of Albret 

Jean I of Albret 
Catherine de Rohan 


Alain I of Albret (1440-1522), called "The Great", was a powerful French aristocrat. He was 16th Lord of Albret, 
Viscount of Tartas, the 2nd Count of Graves, and the Count of Castres. He was the son of Catherine de Rohan and 

Jean I of Albret 


He was the grandson and heir of Charles II of Albret, and became head of the House of Albret in 

He was skillful, but also very fickle, greedy, and unscrupulous. During his half century of rule, he took a political 
course which was more agitated than effective, following his father's example, making him one of the most visible 
actors on the stage of Europe. 

Early career 

Alain I initially benefited from his fidelity to King Louis XI of France, and thereby enlarged his principality. He 
married Francoise de Chatillon, and this marriage brought him the inheritance of the county of Perigord as well as 
the viscounty of Limoges. 

He then seized Armagnac, and married his son John to Catherine of Navarre, heiress of the counties of Foix and 
Bigorre and of the Kingdom of Navarre. 

Alain I of Albret 


The Mad War 

At this time, Alain I hoped to consolidate his power by taking control 
of the Duchy of Brittany by marriage to Anne of Brittany, the daughter 
and heir of Duke Francis II. He entered into rebellion against the royal 
authority in support of the Duchy, during the so-called Mad War. His 
intrigues were unsuccessful, and he was defeated, having been unable 
to provide support to the Duke in 1487. The following year, he brought 
reinforcements by sea, but was defeated by Louis II de la Tremoille at 
the Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier. He continued, however, to claim 
the legacy of Francis II, occupying Nantes with his Gascon troops. He 
still hoped to marry Anne and inherit the Duchy but found it expedient 
to deliver Nantes to the royal army in exchange for an agreement that 

the French would support his claim to Anne's hand. Anne had no 

intention of marrying Alain, who she considered crude and brutal. 

Instead she married the French king, putting an end of Alain's dynastic 

ambition in Brittany. 

France in 1477 □ 

a'ois-AngnulSme | .- 1 „™, 1Lf -">; ^ 

The pattern of royal lands, independent duchies 

and lordly domains in 1477, shortly before the 

Guerre Folle 


Despite his failure in Brittany, Alain established other dynastic links through his daughter, Charlotte of Albret, who 
married Caesar Borgia in 1500. His great-granddaughter, who married Antoine de Bourbon, was the mother of King 
Henry IV of France. 

His children included: 

Jean d' Albret - married (1484) Catherine, Queen of Navarre 

Gabriel, lord of Avesnes-sur-Helpe 

Charlotte of Albret, lady of Chalus - married (1500) Cesar Borgia 

Amanieu d'Albret (f 1520), became bishop of Pamiers, of Comminges and of Lescar, then cardinal 

Pierre, count of Perigord 

Louise, vicountess of Limoges (f 1531), married (1495) Charles de Croy count of Chimay 

Isabelle, married Gaston II, captal de Buch 

Anne, married Charles de Croy 

Isabelle, married Jean de Foy 

Marie, friend (amie) of Jean de Foy 

Alain d'Albret died in Castel Jaloux on 1 (?) October 1522. 


[1] Guigue, Georges, Chronique de Benoit Mailliard, (Imprimerie Alf. Louis Perrin, 1883), 35. 
[2] De La Warr, Constance, A Twice Crowned Queen: Anne of Brittany, ppl2-14 

• This article was initially translated from the Wikipedia article Alain d'Albret, mostly from this version (http://fr.'Albret&oldid=27302062), but with the final paragraph from this 
version (http://fr. wikipedia. org/w/index.php?title=Alain_d'Albret&oldid=25270 116). 

Alexander the Great 


Alexander the Great 

Alexander the Great 

Basileus of Macedon 


Alexander fighting the Persian king Darius III. From Alexander Mosaic, Naples National Archaeological Museum 

336-323 BC 

Full name 




Place of death 





Religious beliefs 

Alexander III of Macedon 

>H , 

Msyac, AA.E§av6poi; (Megas Alexandras, Great Alexander) 
AA.E^o;v6po(; 6 Meyac, (Alexandras ho Megas, Alexander the Great) 

King of Macedon 

Hegemon of the Hellenic League 

Shahanshah of Persia 

Pharaoh of Egypt 

Lord of Asia 

20 or 21 July 356 BC 
Pella, Macedon 

10 or 11 June 323 BC (aged 32) 

Philip II of Macedon 

• Alexander IV of Macedon 

• Philip III of Macedon 

Roxana of Bactria 
Stateira II of Persia 
Parysatis II of Persia 

Alexander IV of Macedon 

Argead dynasty 
Philip II of Macedon 

Olympias of Epirus 
Greek polytheism 

Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 — 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great 

(Greek: 'A\£E,av&poq 6 Miyaq, Alexandros ho Megas from the Greek ak3z,m alexo "to defend, help" + avi'ip aner 
"man"), was a king of Macedon, a state in northern ancient Greece. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander was tutored 
by Aristotle until the age of 16. By the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, 
stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas. He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history's most 

Alexander the Great 


successful commanders. 

Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II of Macedon, to the throne in 336 BC after Philip was assassinated. Upon 
Philip's death, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. He was awarded the generalship of 
Greece and used this authority to launch his father's military expansion plans. In 334 BC, he invaded Persian-ruled 
Asia Minor and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of 
decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew the Persian King 
Darius III and conquered the entirety of the Persian Empire. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic 
Sea to the Indus River. 

Seeking to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea", he invaded India in 326 BC, but was eventually 
forced to turn back at the demand of his troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, without executing a series of 
planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of 
civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander's surviving generals and 

Alexander's legacy includes the cultural diffusion his conquests engendered. He founded some twenty cities that bore 
his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of 
Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the 
traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the 
mold of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and myth of Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became 
the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the world still 

teach his tactics 


Early life 

Lineage and childhood 

Alexander was born on the 6th day of the ancient Greek month of 
Hekatombaion, which probably corresponds to 20 July 356 BC, 
although the exact date is not known, in Pella, the capital of the 
Ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedon. He was the son of the king of 
Macedon, Philip II, and his fourth wife, Olympias, the daughter of 
Neoptolemus I, king of Epirus. Although Philip had seven or 

eight wives, Olympias was his principal wife for some time, likely a 


result of giving birth to Alexander. 


Several legends surround Alexander's birth and childhood. 

According to the ancient Greek biographer Plutarch, Olympias, on the 

eve of the consummation of her marriage to Philip, dreamed that her 

womb was struck by a thunder bolt, causing a flame that spread "far 

and wide" before dying away. Some time after the wedding, Philip is 

said to have seen himself, in a dream, securing his wife's womb with a 

seal engraved with a lion's image. Plutarch offered a variety of 

interpretations of these dreams: that Olympias was pregnant before her 

marriage, indicated by the sealing of her womb; or that Alexander's 

father was Zeus. Ancient commentators were divided about whether 

the ambitious Olympias promulgated the story of Alexander's divine parentage, variously claiming that she had told 

Alexander, or that she dismissed the suggestion as impious 

Bust of a young Alexander the Great from the 
Hellenistic era, British Museum. 


Alexander the Great 


On the day that Alexander was born, Philip was preparing a siege on 
the city of Potidea on the peninsula of Chalcidice. That same day, 
Philip received news that his general Parmenion had defeated the 
combined Illyrian and Paeonian armies, and that his horses had won at 
the Olympic Games. It was also said that on this day, the Temple of 
Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, burnt 
down. This led Hegesias of Magnesia to say that it had burnt down 
because Artemis was away, attending the birth of Alexander. 
Such legends may have emerged when Alexander was king, and 
possibly at his own instigation, to show that he was superhuman and 
destined for greatness from conception 


In his early years, Alexander was raised by a nurse, Lanike, sister of 
Alexander's future general Cleitus the Black. Later in his childhood, 
Alexander was tutored by the strict Leonidas, a relative of his mother, 


and by Philip's general Lysimachus. Alexander was raised in the 
manner of noble Macedonian youths, learning to read, play the lyre, 
ride, fight, and hunt 


Aristotle tutoring Alexander, by Jean Leon 
Gerome Ferris 

When Alexander was ten years old, a trader from Thessaly brought 

Philip a horse, which he offered to sell for thirteen talents. The horse refused to be mounted and Philip ordered it 

away. Alexander however, detecting the horse's fear of its own shadow, asked to tame the horse, which he eventually 

managed. Plutarch stated that Philip, overjoyed at this display of courage and ambition, kissed his son tearfully, 

declaring: "My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you", and 

bought the horse for him. Alexander named it Bucephalas, meaning "ox-head". Bucephalas carried Alexander as 

far as India. When the animal died (due to old age, according to Plutarch, at age thirty), Alexander named a city after 

him, Bucephala. 

Adolescence and education 

When Alexander was 13, Philip began to search for a tutor, and considered such academics as Isocrates and 
Speusippus, the latter offering to resign to take up the post. In the end, Philip chose Aristotle and provided the 
Temple of the Nymphs at Mieza as a classroom. In return for teaching Alexander, Philip agreed to rebuild Aristotle's 
hometown of Stageira, which Philip had razed, and to repopulate it by buying and freeing the ex-citizens who were 
slaves, or pardoning those who were in exile. 

Mieza was like a boarding school for Alexander and the children of Macedonian nobles, such as Ptolemy, 
Hephaistion, and Cassander. Many of these students would become his friends and future generals, and are often 
known as the 'Companions'. Aristotle taught Alexander and his companions about medicine, philosophy, morals, 
religion, logic, and art. Under Aristotle's tutelage, Alexander developed a passion for the works of Homer, and in 
particular the Iliad; Aristotle gave him an annotated copy, which Alexander later carried on his campaigns. 

Alexander the Great 


Philip's heir 

Regency and ascent of Macedon 

At age 16, Alexander's education under Aristotle ended. Philip 
waged war against Byzantion, leaving Alexander in charge as 
regent and heir apparent. During Philip's absence, the Thracian 
Maedi revolted against Macedonia. Alexander responded quickly, 
driving them from their territory. He colonized it with Greeks, and 
founded a city named Alexandropolis. 

Upon Philip's return, he dispatched Alexander with a small force 
to subdue revolts in southern Thrace. Campaigning against the 
Greek city of Perinthus, Alexander is reported to have saved his 
father's life. Meanwhile, the city of Amphissa began to work lands 
that were sacred to Apollo near Delphi, a sacrilege that gave Philip 
the opportunity to further intervene in Greek affairs. Still occupied 
in Thrace, he ordered Alexander to muster an army for a campaign 
in Greece. Concerned that other Greek states might intervene, 
Alexander made it look as though he was preparing to attack 
Illyria instead. During this turmoil, the Illyrians invaded 

Macedonia, only to be repelled by Alexander 


Philip II of Macedon, Alexander's father 

Philip and his army joined his son in 338 BC, and they marched 

south through Thermopylae, taking it after stubborn resistance 

from its Theban garrison. They went on to occupy the city of Elatea, only a few days' march from both Athens and 

Thebes. The Athenians, led by Demosthenes, voted to seek alliance with Thebes against Macedonia. Both Athens 

r9 f\\ T971 f7Rl 

and Philip sent embassies to win Thebes' favor, but Athens won the contest. Philip marched on Amphissa 

(ostensibly acting on the request of the Amphictyonic League), capturing the mercenaries sent there by Demosthenes 
and accepting the city's surrender. Philip then returned to Elatea, sending a final offer of peace to Athens and Thebes, 

who both rejected it 

[29] [30] [31] 

Alexander the Great 


As Philip marched south, his opponents blocked him near Chaeronea, 
Boeotia. During the ensuing Battle of Chaeronea, Philip commanded 
the right wing and Alexander the left, accompanied by a group of 
Philip's trusted generals. According to the ancient sources, the two 
sides fought bitterly for some time. Philip deliberately commanded his 
troops to retreat, counting on the untested Athenian hoplites to follow, 
thus breaking their line. Alexander was the first to break the Theban 
lines, followed by Philip's generals. Having damaged the enemy's 
cohesion, Philip ordered his troops to press forward and quickly routed 
them. With the Athenians lost, the Thebans were surrounded. Left to 

fight alone, they were defeated 


After the victory at Chaeronea, Philip and Alexander marched 

unopposed into the Peloponnese, welcomed by all cities; however, 

when they reached Sparta, they were refused, but did not resort to 

war. At Corinth, Philip established a "Hellenic Alliance" (modeled 

on the old anti-Persian alliance of the Greco-Persian Wars), which 

included most Greek city-states except Sparta. Philip was then named 

Hegemon (often translated as "Supreme Commander") of this league 

(known by modern scholars as the League of Corinth), and announced 

his plans to attack the Persian Empire. 

Exile and return 

Statue of Alexander in Istanbul Archaeology 

When Philip returned to Pella, he fell in love with and married Cleopatra Eurydice, the niece of his general 
Attalus. The marriage made Alexander's position as heir less secure, since any son of Cleopatra Eurydice would 


be a fully Macedonian heir, while Alexander was only half-Macedonian. During the wedding banquet, a drunken 
Attalus publicly prayed to the gods that the union would produce a legitimate heir. 


At the wedding of Cleopatra, whom Philip fell in love with and married, she being much too young for him, 
her uncle Attalus in his drink desired the Macedonians would implore the gods to give them a lawful successor 
to the kingdom by his niece. This so irritated Alexander, that throwing one of the cups at his head, "You 
villain," said he, "what, am I then a bastard?" Then Philip, taking Attalus's part, rose up and would have run 
his son through; but by good fortune for them both, either his over-hasty rage, or the wine he had drunk, made 
his foot slip, so that he fell down on the floor. At which Alexander reproachfully insulted over him: "See 
there," said he, "the man who makes preparations to pass out of Europe into Asia, overturned in passing from 
one seat to another." 


— Plutarch, describing the feud at Philip's wedding. 

Alexander fled Macedon with his mother, dropping her off with her brother, King Alexander I of Epirus in Dodona, 

[391 [391 

capital of the Molossians. He continued to Illyria, where he sought refuge with the Illyrian King and was 

treated as a guest, despite having defeated them in battle a few years before. However, it appears Philip never 

intended to disown his politically and militarily trained son. Accordingly, Alexander returned to Macedon after 

six months due to the efforts of a family friend, Demaratus the Corinthian, who mediated between the two 

.. [40] [41] 

In the following year, the Persian satrap (governor) of Caria, Pixodarus, offered his eldest daughter to Alexander's 

half-brother, Philip Arrhidaeus. Olympias and several of Alexander's friends suggested this showed Philip 

intended to make Arrhidaeus his heir. Alexander reacted by sending an actor, Thessalus of Corinth, to tell 

Pixodarus that he should not offer his daughter's hand to an illegitimate son, but instead to Alexander. When Philip 

Alexander the Great 


heard of this, he stopped the negotiations and scolded Alexander for wishing to marry the daughter of a Carian, 

explaining that he wanted a better bride for him. Philip exiled four of Alexander's friends, Harpalus, Nearchus, 

[37] [42] [431 

Ptolemy and Erigyius, and had the Corinthians bring Thessalus to him in chains. 

King of Macedon 

The Kingdom of Macedon in 336 BC. 


In 336 BC, while at Aegae attending 
the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra 
to Olympias's brother, Alexander I of 
Epirus, Philip was assassinated by the 
captain of his bodyguards, 
Pausanias. As Pausanias tried to 
escape, he tripped over a vine and was 
killed by his pursuers, including two of 
Alexander's companions, Perdiccas 
and Leonnatus. Alexander was 
proclaimed king by the nobles and 
army at the age of 20. 

Consolidation of power 

Alexander began his reign by 
eliminating potential rivals to the 

throne. He had his cousin, the former 

Amyntas IV, executed. He also had two Macedonian princes from the region of Lyncestis killed, but spared a 

third, Alexander Lyncestes. Olympias had Cleopatra Eurydice and Europa, her daughter by Philip, burned alive. 

When Alexander learned about this, he was furious. Alexander also ordered the murder of Attalus, who was in 

command of the advance guard of the army in Asia Minor and Cleopatra's uncle. 

Attalus was at that time corresponding with Demosthenes, regarding the possibility of defecting to Athens. Attalus 
also had severely insulted Alexander, and following Cleopatra's murder, Alexander may have considered him too 
dangerous to leave alive. Alexander spared Arrhidaeus, who was by all accounts mentally disabled, possibly as a 
result of poisoning by Olympias. 

News of Philip's death roused many states into revolt, including Thebes, Athens, Thessaly, and the Thracian tribes 
north of Macedon. When news of the revolts reached Alexander, he responded quickly. Though advised to use 
diplomacy, Alexander mustered the Macedonian cavalry of 3,000 and rode south towards Thessaly. He found the 
Thessalian army occupying the pass between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, and ordered his men to ride over 
Mount Ossa. When the Thessalians awoke the next day, they found Alexander in their rear and promptly 
surrendered, adding their cavalry to Alexander's force. He then continued south towards the 
Peloponnese. [52][53][54][55] 

Alexander stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognized as the leader of the Amphictyonic League before 
heading south to Corinth. Athens sued for peace and Alexander pardoned the rebels. The famous encounter between 
Alexander and Diogenes the Cynic occurred during Alexander's stay in Corinth. When Alexander asked Diogenes 
what he could do for him, the philosopher disdainfully asked Alexander to stand a little to the side, as he was 
blocking the sunlight. This reply apparently delighted Alexander, who is reported to have said "But verily, if I 


were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes." At Corinth Alexander took the title of Hegemon ("leader"), and 

Alexander the Great 


like Philip, was appointed commander for the coming war against Persia. He also received news of a Thracian 

• • [53][58] 


Balkan campaign 

Before crossing to Asia, Alexander wanted to safeguard his northern borders. In the spring of 335 BC, he advanced 

to suppress several revolts. Starting from Amphipolis, he traveled east into the country of the "Independent 

Thracians"; and at Mount Haemus, the Macedonian army attacked and defeated the Thracian forces manning the 

heights. The Macedonians marched into the country of the Triballi, and defeated their army near the Lyginus 

river (a tributary of the Danube). Alexander then marched for three days to the Danube, encountering the Getae 

tribe on the opposite shore. Crossing the river at night, he surprised them and forced their army to retreat after the 

first cavalry skirmish. 

News then reached Alexander that Cleitus, King of Illyria, and King Glaukias of the Taulanti were in open revolt 
against his authority. Marching west into Illyria, Alexander defeated each in turn, forcing the two rulers to flee with 
their troops. With these victories, he secured his northern frontier. 

While Alexander campaigned north, the Thebans and Athenians rebelled once again. Alexander immediately headed 
south. While the other cities again hesitated, Thebes decided to fight. The Theban resistance was ineffective, and 
Alexander razed the city and divided its territory between the other Boeotian cities. The end of Thebes cowed 
Athens, leaving all of Greece temporarily at peace. Alexander then set out on his Asian campaign, leaving 
Antipater as regent 


Conquest of the Persian Empire 

Asia Minor 

Further information: Battle of the Granicus, Siege of Halicarnassus, and Siege of Miletus 

Alexander's army crossed the 
Hellespont in 334 BC with 
approximately 48,100 soldiers, 6,100 
cavalry and a fleet of 120 ships with 
crews numbering 38,000, drawn 
from Macedon and various Greek 
city-states, mercenaries, and 

feudally-raised soldiers from Thrace, 
Paionia, and Illyria. He showed his 
intent to conquer the entirety of the 
Persian Empire by throwing a spear 
into Asian soil and saying he accepted 

Map of Alexander's empire and his route. 


Asia as a gift from the gods. This also showed Alexander's eagerness to fight, in contrast to his father's preference 
for diplomacy 


After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of the Granicus, Alexander accepted the surrender of the 
Persian provincial capital and treasury of Sardis and proceeded along the Ionian coast. At Halicarnassus, in Caria, 
Alexander successfully waged the first of many sieges, eventually forcing his opponents, the mercenary captain 
Memnon of Rhodes and the Persian satrap of Caria, Orontobates, to withdraw by sea. Alexander left the 
government of Caria to Ada, who adopted Alexander. 

From Halicarnassus, Alexander proceeded into mountainous Lycia and the Pamphylian plain, asserting control over 
all coastal cities to deny the Persians naval bases. From Pamphylia onwards the coast held no major ports and 

Alexander the Great 


Alexander moved inland. At Termessos, Alexander humbled but did not storm the Pisidian city. At the ancient 

Phrygian capital of Gordium, Alexander "undid" the hitherto unsolvable Gordian Knot, a feat said to await the future 

"king of Asia". According to the story, Alexander proclaimed that it did not matter how the knot was undone and 

hacked it apart with his sword. 

The Levant and Syria 

Further information: Battle of Issus and Siege of Tyre 

After spending the winter campaigning in 
Asia Minor, Alexander's army crossed the 
Cilician Gates in 333 BC, and defeated the 
main Persian army under the command of 
Darius III at the Battle of Issus in 
November. Darius fled the battle, 

causing his army to collapse, and left behind 
his wife, his two daughters, his mother 
Sisygambis, and a fabulous treasure. He 
offered a peace treaty that included the lands 
he had already lost, and a ransom of 10,000 
talents for his family. Alexander replied that 
since he was now king of Asia, it was he 

Detail of Alexander Mosaic, showing Battle of Issus, from the House of the Faun, 


alone who decided territorial divisions 


Alexander proceeded to take possession of Syria, and most of the coast of the Levant. In the following year, 

1771 T781 

332 BC, he was forced to attack Tyre, which he captured after a long and difficult siege. Alexander massacred 

the men of military age and sold the women and children into slavery 



Further information: Siege of Gaza 

When Alexander destroyed Tyre, most of the towns on 
the route to Egypt quickly capitulated, with the 
exception of Gaza. The stronghold at Gaza was heavily 
fortified and built on a hill, requiring a siege. After 
three unsuccessful assaults, the stronghold fell, but not 
before Alexander had received a serious shoulder 
wound. As in Tyre, men of military age were put to the 
sword and the women and children sold into 



Jerusalem instead opened its gates in surrender, and 
according to Josephus, Alexander was shown the book 
of Daniel's prophecy, presumably chapter 8, which 
described a mighty Greek king who would conquer the 
Persian Empire. He spared Jerusalem and pushed south into Egypt 

Name of Alexander the Great in Egyptian hieroglyphs (written from 
right to left), circa 330 BC, Egypt. Louvre Museum. 



Alexander advanced on Egypt in later 332 BC, where he was regarded as a liberator. He was pronounced the new 

"master of the Universe" and son of the deity of Amun at the Oracle of Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert 


Henceforth, Alexander often referred to Zeus-Ammon as his true father, and subsequent currency depicted him 


adorned with rams horn as a symbol of his divinity. During his stay in Egypt, he founded Alexandria-by-Egypt, 

Alexander the Great 


which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic Kingdom after his death 


Assyria and Babylonia 

Further information: Battle of Gaugamela 

Leaving Egypt in 331 BC, Alexander marched eastward into Mesopotamia (now northern Iraq) and again defeated 


Darius, at the Battle of Gaugamela. Darius once more fled the field, and Alexander chased him as far as Arbela. 
Gaugamela would be the final and decisive encounter between the two. Darius fled over the mountains to Ecbatana 


(modern Hamedan), while Alexander captured Babylon. 


Further information: Battle of the Persian Gate 


From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its legendary treasury. LOOJ He 
sent the bulk of his army to the Persian ceremonial capital of Persepolis via the Royal Road. Alexander himself took 
selected troops on the direct route to the city. He had to storm the pass of the Persian Gates (in the modern Zagros 
Mountains) which had been blocked by a Persian army under Ariobarzanes and then hurried to Persepolis before its 
garrison could loot the treasury. 

On entering Persepolis, Alexander allowed his troops to loot the city for several days. Alexander stayed in 
Persepolis for five months. During his stay a fire broke out in the eastern palace of Xerxes and spread to the rest 
of the city. Possible causes include a drunken accident or deliberate revenge for the burning of the Acropolis of 

Athens during the Second Persian War 


Fall of the Empire and the East 

Alexander then chased Darius, first into Media, and then Parthia. The Persian king no longer controlled his own 

destiny, and was taken prisoner by Bessus, his Bactrian satrap and kinsman. As Alexander approached, Bessus 

had his men fatally stab the Great King and then declared himself Darius' successor as Artaxerxes V, before 


retreating into Central Asia to launch a guerrilla campaign against Alexander. Alexander buried Darius' remains 

next to his Achaemenid predecessors in a regal funeral. He claimed that, while dying, Darius had named him as 

his successor to the Achaemenid throne. The Achaemenid Empire is normally considered to have fallen with 



Alexander viewed Bessus as a usurper and set out to 
defeat him. This campaign, initially against Bessus, 
turned into a grand tour of central Asia. Alexander 
founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, 
including modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and 
Alexandria Eschate ("The Furthest") in modern 
Tajikistan. The campaign took Alexander through 
Media, Parthia, Aria (West Afghanistan), Drangiana, 
Arachosia (South and Central Afghanistan), Bactria 

(North and Central Afghanistan), and Scythia 


Silver coin of Alexander wearing the lion scalp of Herakles, British 

Spitamenes, who held an undefined position in the 

satrapy of Sogdiana, in 329 BC betrayed Bessus to Ptolemy, one of Alexander's trusted companions, and Bessus was 
executed. However, when, at some point later, Alexander was on the Jaxartes dealing with an incursion by a 
horse nomad army, Spitamenes raised Sogdiana in revolt. Alexander personally defeated the Scythians at the Battle 
of Jaxartes and immediately launched a campaign against Spitamenes, defeating him in the Battle of Gabai. After the 
defeat, Spitamenes was killed by his own men, who then sued for peace. 

Alexander the Great 52 

Problems and plots 

During this time, Alexander took the Persian title "King of Kings" {Shahanshah) and adopted some elements of 
Persian dress and customs at his court, notably the custom of proskynesis, either a symbolic kissing of the hand, or 
prostration on the ground, that Persians showed to their social superiors. The Greeks regarded the gesture as the 
province of deities and believed that Alexander meant to deify himself by requiring it. This cost him the sympathies 
of many of his countrymen, and he eventually abandoned it. 

A plot against his life was revealed, and one of his officers, Philotas, was executed for failing to alert Alexander. The 
death of the son necessitated the death of the father, and thus Parmenion, who had been charged with guarding the 
treasury at Ecbatana, was assassinated at Alexander's command, to prevent attempts at vengeance. Most infamously, 
Alexander personally killed the man who had saved his life at Granicus, Cleitus the Black, during a drunken 
argument at Maracanda. 

Later, in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot against his life was revealed, this one instigated by his own royal 
pages. His official historian, Callisthenes of Olynthus, was implicated in the plot; however, historians have yet to 
reach consensus regarding this involvement. Callisthenes had fallen out of favor by leading the opposition to the 
attempt to introduce proskynesis. 

Macedon in Alexander's absence 

When Alexander set out for Asia, he left his general Antipater, an experienced military and political leader and part 
of Philip II's "Old Guard", in charge of Macedon. Alexander's sacking of Thebes ensured that Greece remained 
quiet during his absence. The one exception was a call to arms by Spartan king Agis III in 331 BC, whom 
Antipater defeated and killed in battle at Megalopolis the following year. Antipater referred the Spartans' 
punishment to Alexander, who chose to pardon them. There was also considerable friction between Antipater 
and Olympias, and each complained to Alexander about the other. 

In general, Greece enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity during Alexander's campaign in Asia. Alexander 
sent back vast sums from his conquest, which stimulated the economy and increased trade across his empire. 
However, Alexander's constant demands for troops and the migration of Macedonians throughout his empire 
depleted Macedon's manpower, greatly weakening it in the years after Alexander, and ultimately led to its 
subjugation by Rome. 

Alexander the Great 


Indian campaign 

Invasion of the Indian subcontinent 

After the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana 
(Roshanak in Bactrian) to cement relations with his new satrapies, 
Alexander turned to the Indian subcontinent. He invited the 
chieftains of the former satrapy of Gandhara, in the north of what 
is now Pakistan, to come to him and submit to his authority. 
Omphis, ruler of Taxila, whose kingdom extended from the Indus 
to the Hydaspes, complied, but the chieftains of some hill clans, 
including the Aspasioi and Assakenoi sections of the Kambojas 
(known in Indian texts also as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas), 
refused to submit. 

In the winter of 327/326 BC, Alexander personally led a campaign 
against these clans; the Aspasioi of Kunar valleys, the Guraeans of 
the Guraeus valley, and the Assakenoi of the Swat and Buner 
valleys. A fierce contest ensued with the Aspasioi in which 
Alexander was wounded in the shoulder by a dart, but eventually 
the Aspasioi lost. Alexander then faced the Assakenoi, who fought 

in the strongholds of Massaga, Ora and Aornos 


The phalanx attacking the centre in the battle of the 
Hydaspes by Andre Castaigne (1898-1899) 

The fort of Massaga was reduced only after days of bloody 

fighting, in which Alexander was wounded seriously in the ankle. 

According to Curtius, "Not only did Alexander slaughter the entire 

population of Massaga, but also did he reduce its buildings to rubble". A similar slaughter followed at Ora. In the 

aftermath of Massaga and Ora, numerous Assakenians fled to the fortress of Aornos. Alexander followed close 

behind and captured the strategic hill-fort after four bloody days 


After Aornos, Alexander crossed the Indus and fought and won an epic battle against King Poms, who ruled a region 
in the Punjab, in the Battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC. Alexander was impressed by Porus's bravery, and made 
him an ally. He appointed Poms as satrap, and added to Poms' territory land that he did not previously own. 
Choosing a local helped him control these lands so distant from Greece 


Alexander founded two cities on 


opposite sides of the Hydaspes river, naming one Bucephala, in honor of his horse, who died around this time 
The other was Nicaea (Victory) located at the site of modern day Mong, Punjab. 

Alexander the Great 


Revolt of the army 

East of Poms' kingdom, near the Ganges 
River, were the Nanda Empire of Magadha 
and further east the Gangaridai Empire of 
Bengal. Fearing the prospect of facing other 
large armies and exhausted by years of 
campaigning, Alexander's army mutinied at 
the Hyphasis River, refusing to march further 
east. This river thus marks the easternmost 

extent of Alexander's conquests 







..iii".".".»*" „ Altj xandrja 
Maracanda " Escha te 

►&A*CfR|LA / 

As for the Macedonians, however, their 
struggle with Poms blunted their 
courage and stayed their further 
advance into India. For having had all 
they could do to repulse an enemy who 
mustered only twenty thousand 
infantry and two thousand horse, they 
violently opposed Alexander when he 
insisted on crossing the river Ganges 
also, the width of which, as they 
learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its 
depth a hundred fathoms, while its 
banks on the further side were covered 
with multitudes of men-at-arms and 
horsemen and elephants. For they were 
told that the kings of the Ganderites and 
hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand 



(Caucasus Indie us)* 


Alexandria.. , 
.♦in Arachosia •. . 

Bactra ' '■jl'J'7, 


T?™} a Bucephala 


1*f\ SfegaYa, asis 





,* Alexandria | £' 
.-* on the Indus £ ° 

GEDROSIA k'jff \ 

'$• ■ ■ • 
"... M *♦. Pa/afca 


Alexandria ■: 

\4 I- 

• Cities founded by Alexander 


Alexander's invasion of the Indian subcontinent. 

Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two 
chariots, and six thousand war elephants. 

Alexander tried to persuade his soldiers to march further but his general Coenus pleaded with him to change his 
opinion and return; the men, he said, "longed to again see their parents, their wives and children, their homeland". 
Alexander eventually agreed and turned south, marching along the Indus. Along the way his army conquered the 
Malli clans (in modern day Multan), and other Indian tribes. 

Alexander sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern Iran) with general Craterus, and commissioned a 
fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest back to Persia through the 
more difficult southern route along the Gedrosian Desert and Makran (now part of southern Iran and Pakistan) 


Alexander reached Susa in 324 BC, but not before losing many men to the harsh desert 


Alexander the Great 


Last years in Persia 

Discovering that many of his satraps and military governors had 

misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed several of them as 

examples on his way to Susa. As a gesture of thanks, he paid 

off the debts of his soldiers, and announced that he would send 

over-aged and disabled veterans back to Macedon, led by Craterus. His 

troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the town of Opis. 

They refused to be sent away and criticized his adoption of Persian 

customs and dress and the introduction of Persian officers and soldiers 

into Macedonian units. 

Alexander, left, and Hephaestion, right 

After three days, unable to persuade his men to back down, Alexander 
gave Persians command posts in the army and conferred Macedonian military titles upon Persian units. The 
Macedonians quickly begged forgiveness, which Alexander accepted, and held a great banquet for several thousand 
of his men at which he and they ate together. In an attempt to craft a lasting harmony between his Macedonian 
and Persian subjects, Alexander held a mass marriage of his senior officers to Persian and other noblewomen at 
Susa, but few of those marriages seem to have lasted much beyond a year. Meanwhile, upon his return, 

Alexander learned that guards of the tomb of Cyrus the Great had desecrated it, and swiftly executed them 


After Alexander traveled to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk of the Persian treasure, his closest friend and possible 

n 27in 2ri 
lover, Hephaestion, died of illness or poisoning. Hephaestion's death devastated Alexander, and he ordered 

ri 271 

the preparation of an expensive funeral pyre in Babylon, as well as a decree for public mourning. Back in 
Babylon, Alexander planned a series of new campaigns, beginning with an invasion of Arabia, but he would not 
have a chance to realize them, as he died shortly thereafter. 

Death and succession 

On either 10 or 11 June 323 BC, Alexander died in the palace of 
Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon, at age 32. Details of the death 

differ slightly — Plutarch's account is that roughly 14 days before his 
death, Alexander entertained admiral Nearchus, and spent the night and 
next day drinking with Medius of Larissa 


He developed a fever, which worsened until he was unable to speak. 
The common soldiers, anxious about his health, were granted the right 
to file past him as he silently waved at them. Diodorus recounts 
that Alexander was struck with pain after downing a large bowl of 


unmixed wine in honour of Hercules, and died after some agony. 
Arrian also mentioned this as an alternative, but Plutarch specifically 

denied this claim. 


A Babylonian astronomical diary (c. 323—322 

BC) recording the death of Alexander (British 

Museum, London) 


Given the propensity of the Macedonian aristocracy to assassination, foul play featured in multiple accounts of 
his death. Diodorus, Plutarch, Arrian and Justin all mentioned the theory that Alexander was poisoned. Plutarch 
dismissed it as a fabrication, while both Diodorus and Arrian noted that they mentioned it only for the sake of 

Alexander the Great 


The accounts were nevertheless fairly consistent in designating 
Antipater, recently removed as Macedonian viceroy, and at odds with 
Olympias, as the head of the alleged plot. Perhaps taking his summons 
to Babylon as a death sentence, and having seen the fate of 

ri 371 

Parmenion and Philotas, " Antipater purportedly arranged for 
Alexander to be poisoned by his son Iollas, who was Alexander's 
wine-pourer. There was even a suggestion that Aristotle may 

have participated. 

Nineteenth century depiction of Alexander's 

funeral procession based on the description of 


The strongest argument against the poison theory is the fact that twelve days passed between the start of his illness 

n 38i 
and his death; such long-acting poisons were probably not available. In 2010, however, a new theory proposed 

that the circumstances of his death were compatible with poisoning by water of the river Styx (Mavroneri) that 

ri 391 

contained calicheamicin, a dangerous compound produced by bacteria. 

Several natural causes (diseases) have been suggested, including malaria and typhoid fever. A 1998 article in the 
New England Journal of Medicine attributed his death to typhoid fever complicated by bowel perforation and 

ascending paralysis. Another recent analysis suggested pyrogenic spondylitis or meningitis. Other illnesses 

fit the symptoms, including acute pancreatitis and West Nile virus. 

Natural-cause theories also tend to emphasise that Alexander's health may have been in general decline after years of 
heavy drinking and severe wounds. The anguish that Alexander felt after Hephaestion's death may also have 
contributed to his declining health. The most likely possible cause is an overdose of medication containing 

hellebore, which is deadly in large doses 


After death 

Alexander's body was laid in a gold anthropoid 
sarcophagus, which was in turn placed in a gold 
casket. According to Aelian, a seer called 

Aristander foretold that the land where Alexander was 
laid to rest "would be happy and unvanquishable 
forever". Perhaps more likely, the successors may 
have seen possession of the body as a symbol of 
legitimacy, since burying the prior king was a royal 



Detail of Alexander on the Alexander Sarcophagus. 

While Alexander's funeral cortege was on its way to 

Macedon, Ptolemy stole it and took it to 

Memphis. His successor, Ptolemy II 

Philadelphus, transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where it remained until at least late Antiquity. Ptolemy IX 

Lathyros, one of Ptolemy's final successors, replaced Alexander's sarcophagus with a glass one so he could convert 

the original to coinage. 

Pompey, Julius Caesar and Augustus all visited the tomb in Alexandria. The latter allegedly accidentally knocked the 
nose off the body. Caligula was said to have taken Alexander's breastplate from the tomb for his own use. In c. AD 

200, Emperor Septimius Severus closed Alexander's tomb to the public. His son and successor, Caracalla, a great 

admirer, visited the tomb during his own reign. After this, details on the fate of the tomb are hazy. 

The so-called "Alexander Sarcophagus", discovered near Sidon and now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, is so 
named not because it was thought to have contained Alexander's remains, but because its bas-reliefs depict 
Alexander and his companions fighting the Persians and hunting. It was originally thought to have been the 

Alexander the Great 


sarcophagus of Abdalonymus (died 311 BC), the king of Sidon appointed by Alexander immediately following the 
battle of Issus in 331. However, more recently, it has been suggested that it may date from earlier than 

Abdalonymus' death. 

Division of the empire 

Further information: Diadochi 

Alexander's death was so sudden that 
when reports of his death reached 
Greece, they were not immediately 
believed. Alexander had no obvious 
or legitimate heir, his son Alexander 
IV by Roxane being born after 
Alexander's death. According to 

Diodorus, Alexander's companions 
asked him on his deathbed to whom he 
bequeathed his kingdom; his laconic 
reply was "toi kratistoi" — "to the 



Arrian and Plutarch claimed that Alexander was speechless by this point, implying that this was an apocryphal 

story. Diodorus, Curtius and Justin offered the more plausible story that Alexander passed his signet ring to 

Perdiccas, a bodyguard and leader of the companion cavalry, in front of witnesses, thereby nominating him. 

Perdiccas initially did not claim power, instead suggesting that Roxane's baby would be king, if male; with himself, 
Craterus, Leonnatus, and Antipater as guardians. However, the infantry, under the command of Meleager, rejected 
this arrangement since they had been excluded from the discussion. Instead, they supported Alexander's half-brother 
Philip Arrhidaeus. Eventually, the two sides reconciled, and after the birth of Alexander IV, he and Philip III were 
appointed joint kings, albeit in name only. 

Dissension and rivalry soon afflicted the Macedonians, however. The satrapies handed out by Perdiccas at the 
Partition of Babylon became power bases each general used to bid for power. After the assassination of Perdiccas in 
321 BC, Macedonian unity collapsed, and 40 years of war between "The Successors" (Diadochi) ensued before the 
Hellenistic world settled into four stable power blocks: the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, the Seleucid Empire in the 
east, the Kingdom of Pergamon in Asia Minor, and Macedon. In the process, both Alexander IV and Philip III were 


Diodorus stated that Alexander had given detailed written instructions to Craterus some time before his death. 
Craterus started to carry out Alexander's commands, but the successors chose not to further implement them, on the 
grounds they were impractical and extravagant. Nevertheless, Perdiccas read Alexander's will to his troops. 

The testament called for military expansion into the southern and western Mediterranean, monumental constructions, 
and the intermixing of Eastern and Western populations. It included: 

Construction of a monumental tomb for his father Philip, "to match the greatest of the pyramids of Egypt' 


Erection of great temples in Delos, Delphi, Dodona, Dium, Amphipolis, and a monumental temple to Athena at 

Troy [66] 

Conquest of Arabia and the entire Mediterranean Basin 

Circumnavigation of Africa 

Alexander the Great 


Development of cities and the "transplant of populations from Asia to Europe and in the opposite direction from 
Europe to Asia, in order to bring the largest continent to common unity and to friendship by means of 

intermarriage and family ties 




Alexander earned the epithet "the Great" due to his unparalleled 
success as a military commander. He never lost a battle, despite 
typically being outnumbered. This was due to use of terrain, 
phalanx and cavalry tactics, bold strategy, and the fierce loyalty of his 
troops. The Macedonian phalanx, armed with the sarissa, a 

spear 6 metres (unknown operator: u'strong' ft) long, had been 
developed and perfected by Philip II through rigorous training, and 
Alexander used its speed and maneuverability to great effect against 
larger but more disparate Persian forces. Alexander also 

recognized the potential for disunity among his diverse army, which 

employed various languages and weapons. He overcame this by being 

personally involved in battle, in the manner of a Macedonian 

king [158][l 5 9] 

In his first battle in Asia, at Granicus, Alexander used only a small part 
of his forces, perhaps 13,000 infantry with 5,000 cavalry, against a 
much larger Persian force of 40,000. Alexander placed the phalanx at 
the center and cavalry and archers on the wings, so that his line 
matched the length of the Persian cavalry line, about 3 km (unknown 
operator: u'strong' mi). By contrast, the Persian infantry was 
stationed behind its cavalry. This ensured that Alexander would not be 
outflanked, while his phalanx, armed with long pikes, had a 
considerable advantage over the Persian's scimitars and javelins. 

Macedonian losses were negligible compared to those of the Persians 



rock Morcon 


^ =5^ 

1 + ^^ * ; 

* ; 1 1 *;t 

■ [/] HU^^H^H 

Biaiziy; ■ 


nl Hypaspits j 



The Battle of the Granicus, 334 BC 

The Battle of Issus, 333 BC 


At Issus in 333 BC, his first confrontation with Darius, he used the same deployment, and again the central phalanx 
pushed through. Alexander personally led the charge in the center, routing the opposing army. At the 

decisive encounter with Darius at Gaugamela, Darius equipped his chariots with scythes on the wheels to break up 
the phalanx and equipped his cavalry with pikes. Alexander arranged a double phalanx, with the center advancing at 
an angle, parting when the chariots bore down and then reforming. The advance was successful and broke Darius' 
center, causing the latter to flee once again 


When faced with opponents who used unfamiliar fighting techniques, such as in Central Asia and India, Alexander 
adapted his forces to his opponents' style. Thus, in Bactria and Sogdiana, Alexander successfully used his javelin 
throwers and archers to prevent outflanking movements, while massing his cavalry at the center. In India, 

confronted by Poms' elephant corps, the Macedonians opened their ranks to envelop the elephants and used their 
sarissas to strike upwards and dislodge the elephants' handlers. 

Alexander the Great 


Physical appearance 

Greek biographer Plutarch (ca. 45—120 AD) describes Alexander's appearance 


The outward appearance of Alexander is best represented by the statues 
of him which Lysippus made, and it was by this artist alone that Alexander 


himself thought it fit that he should be modelled. For those peculiarities 
which many of his successors and friends afterwards tried to imitate, 
namely, the poise of the neck, which was bent slightly to the left, and the 


melting glance of his eyes, this artist has accurately observed. " Apelles, 
however, in painting him as wielder of the thunder-bolt, did not reproduce 
his complexion, but made it too dark and swarthy. Whereas he was of a 
fair colour, as they say, and his fairness passed into ruddiness on his breast 


particularly, and in his face. Moreover, that a very pleasant odour exhaled 
from his skin and that there was a fragrance about his mouth and all his 
flesh, so that his garments were filled with it, this we have read in the 

Memoirs of Aristoxenus 


Roman copy of a statue by Lysippos, 

Louvre Museum. Plutarch felt 

sculptures by Lysippos were the 

most faithful. 

Greek historian Arrian (Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon' ca. 86 — 160) described Alexander as: 

[T]he strong, handsome commander with one eye dark as the night and one blue as the sky. 

The semi-legendary Alexander Romance suggests that Alexander suffered from heterochromia iridum: that one was 
dark and the other light 


British historian Peter Green provided a description of Alexander's appearance, based on his review of statues and 
some ancient documents: 

Physically, Alexander was not prepossessing. Even by Macedonian standards he was very short, though stocky 
and tough. His beard was scanty, and he stood out against his hirsute Macedonian barons by going 
clean-shaven. His neck was in some way twisted, so that he appeared to be gazing upward at an angle. His 
eyes (one blue, one brown) revealed a dewy, feminine quality. He had a high complexion and a harsh 



Ancient authors recorded that Alexander was so pleased with portraits of himself created by Lysippos that he forbade 
other sculptors from crafting his image. Lysippos had often used the Contrapposto sculptural scheme to portray 
Alexander and other characters such as Apoxyomenos, Hermes and Eros. Lysippos' sculpture, famous for its 
naturalism, as opposed to a stiffer, more static pose, is thought to be the most faithful depiction. 


Alexander (left) fighting an Asiatic lion with his 

friend Craterus (detail). 3rd century BC mosaic, 

Pella Museum. 

Some of Alexander's strongest personality traits formed in response to 
his parents. His mother had huge ambitions, and encouraged him 
to believe it was his destiny to conquer the Persian Empire. 
Olympias' influence instilled a sense of destiny in him, and 

Plutarch tells us that his ambition "kept his spirit serious and lofty in 
advance of his years". However, his father Philip was Alexander's 
most immediate and influential role model, as the young Alexander 
watched him campaign practically every year, winning victory after 


victory while ignoring severe wounds. Alexander's relationship with 

Alexander the Great 60 

his father forged the competitive side of his personality; he had a need to out-do his father, illustrated by his reckless 
behavior in battle. While Alexander worried that his father would leave him "no great or brilliant achievement to 
be displayed to the world", he also downplayed his father's achievements to his companions. 


According to Plutarch, among Alexander's traits were a violent temper and rash, impulsive nature, which 

undoubtedly contributed to some of his decisions. Although Alexander was stubborn and did not respond well to 
orders from his father, he was open to reasoned debate. He had a calmer side — perceptive, logical, and 

calculating. He had a great desire for knowledge, a love for philosophy, and was an avid reader. This was no 
doubt in part due to Aristotle's tutelage; Alexander was intelligent and quick to learn. His intelligent and rational 


side was amply demonstrated by his ability and success as a general. He had great self-restraint in "pleasures of 
the body", in contrast with his lack of self control with alcohol. 

Alexander was erudite and patronized both arts and sciences. However, he had little interest in sports or the 

Olympic games (unlike his father), seeking only the Homeric ideals of honor (time) and glory (kudos). He 


had great charisma and force of personality, characteristics which made him a great leader. His unique 

abilities were further demonstrated by the inability of any of his generals to unite Macedonia and retain the Empire 
after his death — only Alexander had the ability to do so. 

During his final years, and especially after the death of Hephaestion, Alexander began to exhibit signs of 
megalomania and paranoia. His extraordinary achievements, coupled with his own ineffable sense of destiny and 
the flattery of his companions, may have combined to produce this effect. His delusions of grandeur are readily 
visible in his testament and in his desire to conquer the world. 

He appears to have believed himself a deity, or at least sought to deify himself. Olympias always insisted to him 

n77i n7Ri 

that he was the son of Zeus, a theory apparently confirmed to him by the oracle of Amun at Siwa. He began 

to identify himself as the son of Zeus-Ammon. Alexander adopted elements of Persian dress and customs at 

court, notably proskynesis, a practice that Macedonians disapproved, and were loath to perform. This behavior 

cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen. However, Alexander also was a pragmatic ruler who 

understood the difficulties of ruling culturally disparate peoples, many of whom lived in kingdoms where the king 

was divine. Thus, rather than megalomania, his behavior may simply have been a practical attempt at 

strengthening his rule and keeping his empire together. 

Alexander the Great 


Personal relationships 

The central personal relationship of Alexander's life was with his 
friend, general, and bodyguard Hephaestion, the son of a Macedonian 
noble. Hephaestion's death devastated Alexander. 

This event may have contributed to Alexander's failing health and 
detached mental state during his final months. 

Alexander married twice: Roxana, daughter of the Bactrian nobleman 

n 83i 
Oxyartes, out of love; and Stateira II, a Persian princess and 

daughter of Darius III of Persia, for political reasons. He 

apparently had two sons, Alexander IV of Macedon of Roxana and, 

possibly, Heracles of Macedon from his mistress Barsine. He lost 

another child when Roxana miscarried at Babylon 


— ^^1^— T> I I I'l I ■ ■ ■ 

A mural in Pompeii, depicting the marriage of 

Alexander to Barsine (Stateira) in 324 BC. The 

couple are apparently dressed as Ares and 


Alexander's sexuality has been the subject of speculation and 

n 87i 
controversy. No ancient sources stated that Alexander had 

homosexual relationships, or that Alexander's relationship with 

Hephaestion was sexual. Aelian, however, writes of Alexander's visit 

to Troy where "Alexander garlanded the tomb of Achilles and 

Hephaestion that of Patroclus, the latter riddling that he was a beloved 

n 88i 
of Alexander, in just the same way as Patroclus was of Achilles". 

Noting that the word eromenos (ancient Greek for beloved) does not necessarily bear sexual meaning, Alexander 

may have been bisexual, which in his time was not controversial 


Green argues that there is little evidence in ancient sources that Alexander had much interest in women; he did not 
produce an heir until the very end of his life. However, he was relatively young when he died, and Ogden 
suggests that Alexander's matrimonial record is more impressive than his father's at the same age. Apart from 
wives, Alexander had many more female companions. Alexander accumulated a harem in the style of Persian kings, 

but he used it rather sparingly; showing great self-control in "pleasures of the body". Nevertheless, Plutarch 

described how Alexander was infatuated by Roxana while complimenting him on not forcing himself on her. 

Green suggested that, in the context of the period, Alexander formed quite strong friendships with women, including 

Ada of Caria, who adopted him, and even Darius's mother Sisygambis, who supposedly died from grief upon hearing 

of Alexander's death 


Alexander the Great 



Alexander's legacy extended beyond his 
military conquests. His campaigns greatly 
increased contacts and trade between East 
and West, and vast areas to the east were 
significantly exposed to Greek civilization 


and influence. Some of the cities he 
founded became major cultural centers, 
many surviving into the twenty-first century. 
His chroniclers recorded valuable 
information about the areas through which 
he marched, while the Greeks themselves 
got a sense of belonging to a world beyond 


the Mediterranean. 

Hellenistic kingdoms 

The Hellenistic world view after Alexander: ancient world map of Eratosthenes 

(276—194 BC), incorporating information from the campaigns of Alexander and 
.. [193] 

his successors. 

Alexander's most immediate legacy was the introduction of Macedonian rule to huge new swathes of Asia. At the 

2 T1941 

time of his death, Alexander's empire covered some 5200000 km (unknown operator: u'strong 1 sq mi), and 

was the largest state of its time. Many of these areas remained in Macedonian hands or under Greek influence for the 

next 200—300 years. The successor states that emerged were, at least initially, dominant forces, and these 300 years 

are often referred to as the Hellenistic period 


The eastern borders of Alexander's empire began to 
collapse even during his lifetime. However, the 

power vacuum he left in the northwest of the Indian 
subcontinent directly gave rise to one of the most 
powerful Indian dynasties in history. Taking advantage 
of this, Chandragupta Maurya (referred to in Greek 
sources as "Sandrokottos"), of relatively humble origin, 
took control of the Punjab, and with that power base 
proceeded to conquer the Nanda Empire. 

Plan of Alexandria, 

Scale 1:100 oofl 

[. folate Iwtor 
"J. Aitftrrfotdus 1. 

b.Aneienh \ T/ioiztk of Hit- 
e -J>er &ti j Site tututl 

7. ^efuveajfi- iuid> Poinpe-y'u 

Z.jjmple. 4t 'Eeptevte, 

■■■■■ ■ trtuznL sfwr& r 


Plan of Alexandria in antiquity 

Founding of cities 

Over the course of his conquests, Alexander founded 
some twenty cities that bore his name, most of them 


east of the Tigris. The first, and greatest, was Alexandria in Egypt, which would become one of the leading 

Mediterranean cities. The cities locations' reflected trade routes as well as defensive positions. At first the cities 
must have been inhospitable, little more than defensive garrisons. Following Alexander's death, many Greeks 


who had settled there tried to return to Greece. However, a century or so after Alexander's death, many of 

the Alexandrias were thriving, with elaborate public buildings and substantial populations that included both Greek 

and local peoples 


Alexander the Great 



Hellenization was coined by the German 
historian Johann Gustav Droysen to denote 
the spread of Greek language, culture, and 
population into the former Persian empire 
after Alexander's conquest. That this 

export took place is undoubted, and can be 
seen in the great Hellenistic cities of, for 

instance, Alexandria, Antioch and 

Seleucia (south of modern Baghdad). 

Alexander sought to insert Greek elements 

into Persian culture and attempted to 

hybridize Greek and Persian culture. This 

culminated in his aspiration to homogenize 

the populations of Asia and Europe. However, his successors explicitly rejected such policies. Nevertheless, 

Hellenization occurred throughout the region, accompanied by a distinct and opposite 'Orientalization' of the 

c , , [198] [200] 

Successor states. 

The core of Hellenistic culture was essentially Athenian. The close association of men from across Greece in 


Alexander's army directly led to the emergence of the largely Attic-based "koine", or "common" Greek dialect. 
Koine spread throughout the Hellenistic world, becoming the lingua franca of Hellenistic lands and eventually the 


ancestor of modern Greek. Furthermore, town planning, education, local government, and art current in the 
Hellenistic period were all based on Classical Greek ideals, evolving into distinct new forms commonly grouped as 
Hellenistic. Aspects of Hellenistic culture were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the 
mid-15th century. ^ 

Alexander's empire was the largest state of its time, covering approximately 5.2 
million square km. 

Alexander the Great 


Some of the most unusual effects of Hellenization can be seen in 
India, in the region of the relatively late-arising Indo-Greek 
kingdoms. There, isolated from Europe, Greek culture 

apparently hybridized with Indian, and especially Buddhist, 
influences. The first realistic portrayals of the Buddha appeared at 
this time; they were modeled on Greek statues of Apollo. 
Several Buddhist traditions may have been influenced by the 
ancient Greek religion: the concept of Boddhisatvas is reminiscent 
of Greek divine heroes, and some Mahayana ceremonial 

practices (burning incense, gifts of flowers, and food placed on 
altars) are similar to those practiced by the ancient Greeks. Zen 
Buddhism draws in part on the ideas of Greek stoics, such as 


Zeno. One Greek king, Menander I, probably became 

Buddhist, and was immortalized in Buddhist literature as 
'Milinda'. The process of Hellenization extended to the 

sciences, where ideas from Greek astronomy filtered eastward and 
had profoundly influenced Indian astronomy by the early centuries 


AD. For example, Greek astronomical instruments dating to 
the 3rd century BC were found in the Greco-Bactrian city of Ai 


Khanoum in modern-day Afghanistan, while the Greek 

concept of a spherical earth surrounded by the spheres of planets 
was adopted in India and eventually supplanted the long-standing 
Indian cosmological belief into a flat and circular earth 

[208] [2 10] 

The Buddha, in Greco-Buddhist style, 1st— 2nd century 

AD, Gandhara (Modern Pakistan). Tokyo National 


Influence on Rome 

Alexander and his exploits were admired by many Romans, especially generals, who wanted to associate themselves 
with his achievements. Polybius began his Histories by reminding Romans of Alexander's achievements, and 
thereafter Roman leaders saw him as a role model. Pompey the Great adopted the epithet "Magnus" and even 
Alexander's anatole-type haircut, and searched the conquered lands of the east for Alexander's 260-year-old cloak, 
which he then wore as a sign of greatness. Julius Caesar dedicated an Lysippean equestrian bronze statue but 
replaced Alexander's head with his own, while Octavian visited Alexander's tomb in Alexandria and temporarily 
changed his seal from a sphinx to Alexander's profile. The emperor Trajan also admired Alexander, as did Nero 

and Caracalla. The Macriani, a Roman family that in the person of Macrinus briefly ascended to the imperial 

throne, kept images of Alexander on their persons, either on jewelry, or embroidered into their clothes. 

Alexander the Great 


The Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius (reigned c. 
200—180 BC), wearing an elephant scalp, took 

over Alexander's legacy in the east by again 

invading India, and establishing the Indo-Greek 

kingdom (180 BC-10 AD). 

at the time. 


On the other hand, some Roman writers, particularly Republican 
figures, used Alexander as a cautionary tale of how autocratic 
tendencies can be kept in check by republican values. Alexander 
was used by these writers as an example of ruler values such as amicita 

(friendship) and dementia (clemency), but also iracundia (anger) and 

cupiditas gloriae (over-desire for glory). 


Legendary accounts surround the life of Alexander the Great, many 
deriving from his own lifetime, probably encouraged by Alexander 
himself. His court historian Callisthenes portrayed the sea in 

Cilicia as drawing back from him in proskynesis. Writing shortly after 
Alexander's death, another participant, Onesicritus, invented a tryst 
between Alexander and Thalestris, queen of the mythical Amazons. 
When Onesicritus read this passage to his patron, Alexander's general 
and later King Lysimachus reportedly quipped, "I wonder where I was 

In the first centuries after Alexander's death, probably in Alexandria, a quantity of the legendary material coalesced 
into a text known as the Alexander Romance, later falsely ascribed to Callisthenes and therefore known as 
Pseudo-Callisthenes. This text underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the Middle 
Ages, containing many dubious stories, and was translated into numerous languages. 

In ancient and modern culture 

Alexander the Great's accomplishments and legacy have been depicted l - ^ 
in many cultures. Alexander has figured in both high and popular 
culture beginning in his own era to the present day. The Alexander 
Romance, in particular, has had a significant impact on portrayals of 
Alexander in later cultures, from Persian to medieval European to 

modern Greek 


Alexander the Great depicted in a 14th century 
Byzantine manuscript 

Alexander features prominently in modern Greek folklore, more so 

T21 81 

than any other ancient figure. The colloquial form of his name in 

modern Greek ("O Megalexandros") is a household name, and he is the 

r? 1 8i 
only ancient hero to appear in the Karagiozis shadow play. One 

well-known fable among Greek seamen involves a solitary mermaid 

who would grasp a ship's prow during a storm and ask the captain "Is King Alexander alive?". The correct answer is 

"He is alive and well and rules the world!", causing the mermaid to vanish and the sea to calm. Any other answer 

would cause the mermaid to turn into a raging Gorgon who would drag the ship to the bottom of the sea, all hands 



In pre-Islamic Persian (Zoroastrian) literature, Alexander is referred to by the epithet "gojastak", meaning 
"accursed", and is accused of destroying temples and burning the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. 

Alexander the Great 


In Islamic Iran, under the influence of the Alexander Romance, a more positive 


portrayal of Alexander emerges. Firdausi's Shahnameh ("The Book of 

Kings") includes Alexander in a line of legitimate Iranian shahs, a mythical 

figure who explored the far reaches of the world in search of the fountain of 

youth. Later Persian writers associate him with philosophy, portraying him 

at a symposium with figures such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, in search of 


The Syriac version of the Alexander Romance portrays him as an ideal Christian 
world conqueror who prayed to "the one true God". In Egypt, Alexander was 
portrayed as the son of Nectanebo II, the last pharaoh before the Persian 


conquest. His defeat of Darius was depicted as Egypt's salvation, "proving" 
Egypt was still ruled by an Egyptian 


The figure of Dhul-Qarnayn (literally "the Two-Horned One") mentioned in the 
Quran is believed by some scholars to represent Alexander, due to parallels with 


the Alexander Romance. In this tradition, he was a heroic figure who built a 


wall to defend against the nations of Gog and Magog. He then traveled the 
known world in search for the Water of Life and Immortality, eventually 
becoming a prophet 


15th century Persian miniature 

painting from Herat depicting 

Alexander the Great 

In India and Pakistan, more specifically the Punjab, the name "Sikandar", derived from Persian, denotes a rising 


young talent. In the medieval Europe he was created a member of the Nine Worthies, a group of heroes who 
encapsulated all the ideal qualities of chivalry. 


Apart from a few inscriptions and fragments, texts written by people who actually knew Alexander or who gathered 
information from men who served with Alexander were all lost. Contemporaries who wrote accounts of his life 
included Alexander's campaign historian Callisthenes; Alexander's generals Ptolemy and Nearchus; Aristobulus, a 
junior officer on the campaigns; and Onesicritus, Alexander's chief helmsman. Their works are lost, but later works 
based on these original sources have survived. The earliest of these is Diodorus Siculus (1st century BC), followed 
by Quintus Curtius Rufus (mid to late 1st century AD), Arrian (1st to 2nd century AD), the biographer Plutarch (1st 


to 2nd century AD), and finally Justin, whose work dated as late as the 4th century AD. Of these, Arrian is 
generally considered the most reliable, given that he used Ptolemy and Aristobulus as his sources, closely followed 

by Diodorus 



A i: By the time of his death, he had conquered the entire Achaemenid Persian Empire, adding it to Macedon's 
European territories; according to some modern writers, this was most of the world then known to the ancient Greeks 

[2241 [2251 

(the Ecumene'). An approximate view of the world known to Alexander can be seen in Hecataeus of 

Miletus's map; see Hecataeus world map. 

A ii: For instance, Hannibal supposedly ranked Alexander as the greatest general; Julius Caesar wept on seeing a 


statue of Alexander, since he had achieved so little by the same age; Pompey consciously posed as the 'new 

r2281 r22Ql 

Alexander'; the young Napoleon Bonaparte also encouraged comparisons with Alexander. 



A iii: The name AXe^avdoog derives from the Greek verb "aXE§co" (alexo), "to ward off, to avert, to defend 

, , , , _ [2311 [2321 

the noun "avSpoq" (andros), genitive of "avnp" (aner), "man" and means "protector of men." 

A iv: "In the early 5th century the royal house of Macedon, the Temenidae, was recognised as Greek by the 

Alexander the Great 


Presidents of the Olympic Games. Their verdict was and is decisive. It is certain that the Kings considered 

themselves to be of Greek descent from Heracles son of Zeus." 

A v: " AEACIDS Descendants of Aeacus, son of Zeus and the nymph Aegina, eponymous (see the term) to the island 

of that name. His son was Peleus, father of Achilles, whose descendants (real or supposed) called themselves 

Aeacids: thus Pyrrhus and Alexander the Great." 

A vi: There have been, since the time, many suspicions that Pausanias was actually hired to murder Philip. Suspicion 

has fallen upon Alexander, Olympias and even the newly crowned Persian Emperor, Darius III. All three of these 

people had motive to have Philip murdered. 


[1] Yenne2010 

[2] Yenne2010 

[3] "The birth of Alexander the Great" (http://www.livius.Org/aj-al/alexander/alexander_t32.html#7). . Retrieved 16 December 
201 1. "Alexander was born the sixth of Hekatombaion." 

[4] Peter Green (1970), Alexander ofMacedon, 356-323 B.C.: a historical biography (http://books. ?id=g6W14AKGQkIC& 

ved=0CF8Q6AEwCDgK#v=onepage&q=356&f=false), Hellenistic culture and society (reprinted, illustrated, revised ed.), University of 
California Press, p. xxxiii, ISBN 9780520071650, , "356 - Alexander born in Pella. The exact date is not known, but probably either 20 or 26 

[5] McCarty 2004, p. 10 

[6] Renault 2001, p. 28 

[7] Durant 1966, p. 538 

[8] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 171 

[9] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 188 





Plutarch 1919, III, 2 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text: 1999. 01. 0243:chapter=3:section=2) 

Bose2003, p. 21 

Renault 2001, pp. 33-34 

Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 186 

Plutarch 1919, VI, 5 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=6:section=5) 

Fox 1980, p. 64 

Renault 2001, p. 39 

Fox 1980, p. 65 

Renault 2001, p. 44 

McCarty 2004, p. 15 

Renault 2001, pp. 45^7 

McCarty 2004, p. 16 

Fox 1980, p. 68 

Renault 2001, p. 47 

Bose 2003, p. 43 

Renault 2001, pp. 47^9 

Renault 2001, pp. 50-51 

Bose 2003, pp. 44-45 

McCarty 2004, p. 23 

Renault 2001, p. 51 

Bose 2003, p. 47 

McCarty 2004, p. 24 

Diodorus Siculus 1989, XVI, 86 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Diod. +16. 86) 

"History of Ancient Sparta" ( . Retrieved 14 November 2009. 

Renault 2001, p. 54 

McCarty 2004, p. 26 

Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 179 

McCarty 2004, p. 27 

Plutarch 1919, IX, 1 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=9) 

Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 180 

Plutarch 1919, LXXV, 1 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=75) 

Renault 2001, p. 56 

Alexander the Great 


[42] Renault 2001, p. 59 

[43] Fox 1980, p. 71 

[44] McCarty 2004, pp. 30-31 

[45] Renault 2001, pp. 61-62 

[46] Fox 1980, p. 72 

[47] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 190 

[48] Green 2007, pp. 5-6 

[49] Green 2007, pp. 5-6 

[50] Renault 2001, pp. 70-71 

[51] Fox 1980, p. 72 

[52] McCarty 2004, p. 31 

[53] Renault 2001, p. 72 

[54] Fox 1980, p. 104 

[55] Bose 2003, p. 95 

[56] Stoneman 2004, p. 21 

[57] Dillon 2004 

[58] Bose 2003, p. 96 

[59] Arrian 1976, 1, 1 View page ( 

[60] Arrian 1976, 1, 2 

[61] Arrian 1976, 1, 3-4 

[62] Renault 2001, pp. 73-74 

[63] Arrian 1976, 1, 5-6 

[64] Renault 2001, p. 77 

[65] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 192 

[66] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 199 

[67] Arrian 1976, 1, 11 

[68] Arrian 1976, 1, 13-19 

[69] Arrian 1976, 1, 20-23 

[70] Arrian 1976, 1, 23 

[71] Arrian 1976, 1, 27-28 

[72] Arrian 1976, 1, 3 

[73] Green 2007, p. 351 

[74] Arrian 1976, 1, 6-10 

[75] Arrian 1976, 1, 11-12 

[76] Arrian 1976, 1, 3-4 II, 14 

[77] Arrian 1976, II, 16-24 

[78] Gunther 2007, p. 84 

[79] Sabin, van Wees & Whitby 2007, p. 396 

[80] Arrian 1976, II, 26 

[81] Arrian 1976, II, 26-27 

[82] Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XI, 337 [viii, 5] 

[83] Ring et al. 1994, pp. 49, 320 

[84] Grimal 1992, p. 382 

[85] Dahmen2007, pp. 10-11 

[86] Arrian 1976, III, 1 

[87] Arrian 1976, III 7-15 

[88] Arrian 1976, 111,16 View page ( 

[89] Arrian 1976, III, 18 

[90] Foreman 2004 

[91] Morkot 1996, p. 121 

[92] Hammond 1983, pp. 72-73 

[93] Arrian 1976, III, 19-20 

[94] Arrian 1976, III, 21 

[95] Arrian 1976, III, 21, 25 

[96] Arrian 1976, III, 22 

[97] Gergel2004, p. 81 

[98] "The end of Persia" ( . Retrieved 16 November 2009. 

[99] Arrian 1976, III, 23-25, 27-30; IV, 1-7 

[100] Arrian 1976, III, 30 

Alexander the Great 69 

[101] Arrian 1976, IV, 5-6, 16-17 

[102] Arrian 1976, VII, 11 View page ( 

[103] Morkot 1996, p. Ill 

[104] Gergel 2004, p. 99 

[105] Heckel & Tritle 2009, pp. 47-48 

[106] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 201 

[107] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 202 

[108] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 203 

[109] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 205 

[110] Tripathi 1999, pp. 118-121 

[111] Narain 1965, pp. 155-165 

[112] McCrindle 1997, p. 229 

[113] Tripathi 1999, pp. 124-125 

[114] Tripathi 1999, pp. 126-127 

[115] Gergel 2004, p. 120 

[116] Worthington 2003, p. 175 

[117] Tripathi 1999, pp. 129-130 

[118] Plutarch 1919, LXII, 1 View page (http://www.perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=62& 

[119] Tripathi 1999, pp. 137-138 View page ( 
[120] Tripathi 1999, p. 141 
[121] Morkot 1996, p. 9 

[122] Arrian 1976, VI, 27 View page ( 
[123] Arrian 1976, VII, 4 View page ( 
[124] Worthington 2003, pp. 307-308 
[125] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 194 

[126] Arrian 1976, II, 29 View page ( 
[127] Arrian 1976, VII, 14 View page ( 
[128] Berkley 2006, p. 101 

[129] Arrian 1976, VII, 19 View page ( 

[130] Depuydt, L.. "The Time of Death of Alexander the Great: 1 1 June 323 BC, ca. 4:00-5:00 pm". Die Welt des Orients 28: 1 17-135. 
[131] Wood 2001, pp. 2267ndash;227 

[132] Diodorus Siculus 1989, XVII, 117 View page (http://www.perseus. tufts. edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Diod. +17. 117.1) 
[133] Green 2007, pp. 1-2 
[134] Plutarch 1919, LXXVII, 1 View page ( 1999.01. 0243:chapter=77& 

[135] Arrian 1976, VII, 27 View page ( 
[136] Green 2007, pp. 23-24 

[137] Diodorus Siculus 1989, XVII, 118 View page (http://www.perseus. tufts. edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Diod. +17. 118.1) 
[138] Fox 2006, chapter 32 
[139] Squires, Nick (4 August 2010). 'Alexander the Great poisoned by the River Styx" ( 

europe/greece/7924855/Alexander-the-Great-poisoned-by-the-River-Styx.html). The Daily Telegraph (London). . Retrieved 12 December 

[140] Oldach, D.W.; Richard, R.E.; Borza, E.N.; Benitez, R.M. (June 1998). "A mysterious death" ( 

pmidlookup?view=short&pmid=9625631&promo=ONFLNS19). N. Engl. J. Med. 338 (24): 1764-1769. 

doi:10.1056/NEJM1998061 13382411. PMID 9625631. . 
[141] Ashrafian, H. (2004). "The death of Alexander the Great— a spinal twist of fate". J Hist Neurosci 13 (2): 138-142. 

doi:10.1080/0964704049052157. PMID 15370319. 
[142] Marr, John S.; Calisher, Charles H. (2003). "Alexander the Great and West Nile Virus Encephalitis" ( 

pmc/articles/PMC3034319/pdf/03-0288.pdf). Emerging Infectious Diseases 9 (12): 1599-1603. doi:10.3201/eid0912.030288. 

PMC 3034319. PMID 14725285. . Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
[143] Sbarounis, C.N. (2007). "Did Alexander the Great die of acute pancreatitis?". J Clin Gastroenterol 24 (4): 294-296. 

doi: 10.1097/00004836-199706000-00031. PMID 9252868. 
[144] Cawthorne 2004, p. 138 
[145] Bursztajn, Harold J. (2005). "Dead Men Talking" ( Harvard Medical 

Alumni Bulletin (Spring). . Retrieved 16 December 201 1. 
[146] Kosmetatou, Elizabeth (1998). "The Location of the Tomb: Facts and Speculation" ( Archived from the original ( 

alexandria/alexander/pages/location.html) on 31 May 2004. . Retrieved 16 December 2011. 

Alexander the Great 70 

[147] Aelian, Varia Historia XII, 64 (http://penelope.uchicago.edU/aelian/varhistl2.xhtml#chap64) 

[148] Green 2007, p. 32 

[149] Kosmetatou, Elizabeth (1998). "The Aftermath: The Burial of Alexander the Great" ( Archived from the original ( 

alexandria/alexander/pages/aftermath.html) on 27 August 2004. . Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
[150] Studniczka 1894, pp. 226ff 

[151] Bieber, M (1965). "The Portraits of Alexander". Greece & Rome, Second Series 12.2: 183-188. 
[152] Green 2007, pp. 24-26 
[153] Green 2007, p. 20 
[154] Green 2007, pp. 26-29 
[155] Green 2007, pp. 29-4 

[156] Diodorus Siculus 1989, XVIII,4 View page ( 1) 
[157] McKechnie 1989, p. 54 
[158] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 193 
[159] Morkot 1996, p. 110 
[160] Morkot 1996, p. 122 

[161] Plutarch 1919, IV, 1 (http://www.perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=4&highlight=lysippus) 
[162] "Alexander the Great" ( . 

[164] Grafton 2010, p. 27 
[165] Green 2007, pp. 15-16 
[166] "Images of Authority II: The Greek Example" ( 

images_authority_2_greek.html). SUNY Oneonta. 2005. . Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
[167] Grout, James. "Lysippus: Apoxyomenos" ( 

apoxyomenos.html). Encyclopaedia Rotnana. . Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
[168] Bosworth 1988, pp. 19-20 
[169] Green 2007, p. 4 

[170] Plutarch 1919, Iv, 4 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text: 1999. 01. 0243:chapter=4:section=4) 
[171] Plutarch 1919, V, 2 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=5:section=2) 
[172] Arrian 1976, VII, 29 View page ( 

[173] Plutarch 1919, VII, 1 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=7:section=l) 
[174] Plutarch 1919, VIII, 1 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=8:section=l) 
[175] Arrian 1976, VII, 28 
[176] Green 2007, pp. 20-21 

[177] Plutarch 1919, IX, IV View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text: 1999. 01. 0243:chapter=9:section=4) 
[178] Plutarch 1919, XXVII, 1 View page (http://www.perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=27) 
[179] Plutarch 1919, LXV, 1 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0243:chapter=45) 
[180] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 195 

[181] Diodorus Siculus 1989, XVII, 114 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Diod. +17. 114.1) 
[182] Plutarch 1919, LXXII, 1 View page (http://www.perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text: 1999.01. 0243:chapter=72) 
[183] Plutarch 1919, LXVII, 1 View page ( 1999.01. 0243:chapter=47) 
[184] Plutarch 1936, II, 6 View page (*/2. 

[185] "Alexander IV" ( . Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
[186] Renault 2001, p. 100 
[187] Ogden 2009, p. 204 

[188] Aelian, Varia Historia XII, 7 (http://penelope.uchicago.edU/aelian/varhistl2.xhtml#chap7) 
[189] Sacks 1995, p. 16 
[190] Ogden 2009, p. 208 "... three attested pregnancies in eight years produces an attested impregnation rate of one every 2.7 years, which is 

actually superior to that of his father's." 
[191] Diodorus Siculus 1989, XVII, 77 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Diod.+17. 77.1) 
[192] Plutarch 1936, 1, 11 View page (*/2. 

[193] "World map according to Eratosthenes (194 B.C.)" ( Web Pages/1 12.html). Henry Davis Consulting. . Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
[194] Peter Turchin, Thomas D. Hall and Jonathan M. Adams, " East- West Orientation of Historical Empires ( 

voll2/number2/pdf/jwsr-vl2n2-tah.pdf)", Journal of "World-Systems Research Vol. 12 (no. 2), pp. 219—229 (2006). 
[195] Green 2007, p. xii-xix 

Alexander the Great 7 1 

[196] Keay 2001, pp. 82-85 

[197] "Alexander the Great: his towns" ( . Retrieved 13 December 


[198] Green 2007, pp. 56-59 

[199] Waterman, Leroy; McDowell, Robert H.; Hopkins, Clark (1998). "Seleucia on the Tigris, Iraq" ( 

Excavation/Seleucia.html). The Kelsey Online. . Retrieved 16 December 2011. 

[200] Green 2007, p. 21 

[201] McCarty 2004, p. 17 

[202] Harrison 1971, p. 51 

[203] Gabriel 2002, p. 277 

[204] Baynes 2007, p. 170 

[205] Keay 2001, pp. 101-109 

[206] Luniyal978, p. 312 

[207] Pratt 1996, p. 237 

[208] Pingree 1978, pp. 533, 554f 

[209] Cambon & Jarrige 2006, p. 269 

[210] Glick, Livesey & Wallis 2005, p. 463 

[211] Roisman & Worthington 2010, Chapter 6, p. 1 14 

[212] Holt 2003, p. 3 

[213] Roisman & Worthington 2010, Chapter 6, p. 115 

[214] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 187 

[215] Plutarch 1919, LXVI, 1 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text: 1999. 01. 0243:chapter=46& 


[216] Stoneman 1996, passim 

[217] Roisman & Worthington 2010, Chapter 6,117 

[218] Fermor2006 

[219] Curtis, Tallis & Andre-Salvini 2005, p. 154 

[220] Roisman & Worthington 2010, Chapter 6, 120 

[221] Fischer 2004, p. 66 

[222] Roisman & Worthington 2010, Chapter 6, 122 

[223] Connerney 2009, p. 68 

[224] Danforth 1997, pp. 38, 49, 167 

[225] Stoneman 2004, p. 2 

[226] Goldsworthy 2003, pp. 327-328 

[227] Plutarch 1919, XI, 2 View page (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 01. 0244:chapter=ll& 


[228] Holland 2003, pp. 176-183 

[229] Barnett 1997, p. 45 

[230] Plutarch 1919, IV, 57 a)i§co (http://www.perseus.mfts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0057:entry=a)le/cw) Liddell & 

Scott 1940 

[231] Plutarch 1919, IV, 57 avi'p (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 04. 0057:entry=a)nh/r) Liddell & Scott 


[232] "Alexander" (http://www.etymonline. com/index. php?search=Alexander&searchmode=none). Online Etymology Dictionary. . 

Retrieved 1 1 December 2009. 

[233] Hammond 1986, p. 516 

[234] Chamoux & Roussel 2003, p. 396 

[235] Fox 1980, pp. 72-73 

Alexander the Great 72 

Primary sources 

• Arrian (1976). de Selincourt, Aubrey, ed. Anabasis Alexandri (The Campaigns of Alexander) . Penguin Books. 
ISBN 0140442537. 

• Diodorus Siculus (1989). "Library of History" (http://www.perseus. tufts. edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Diod.+ 
toc). Perseus Project. Retrieved 14 November 2009. C.H. Oldfather, translator (English) 

• Plutarch (1919). Perrin, Bernadotte. ed. Plutarch, Alexander ( 
text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0243). Perseus Project. Retrieved 6 December 2011. (English) 

• Plutarch (1936). Babbitt, Frank Cole. ed. Plutarch, On the Fortune of Alexander ( 
Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Moralia/Fortuna_Alexandri*/home.html). IV. Loeb Classical Library. 

pp. 379-487. Retrieved 26 November 201 1. (English) 

Secondary sources 

• Barnett, C. (1997). Bonaparte. Wordsworth Editions. ISBN 1853266787. 

• Baynes, Norman G. (2007). "Byzantine art" (http://books. google. com/?id=HdHiVlZ3ErIC&pg=PA170& 
dq=hellenistic+culture+in+byzantine+traditions&cd=39#v=onepage&q=hellenistic culture in byzantine 
traditions). Byzantium: An Introduction to East Roman Civilization. Baynes Press, p. 170. ISBN 978-1406756593. 

• Berkley, Grant (2006). Moses in the Hieroglyphs (http://books. google. com/books?id=N7mj2NhCGNYC& 
pg=PA101&dq=hephaestion+and+alexander+the+great+lover#v=onepage&q=hephaestion and alexander the 
great lover&f=false). Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1412056004. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 

• Cambon, Pierre; Jarrige, Jean-Francois (2006). "Afghanistan, les tresors retrouves: Collections du Musee national 
de Kaboul" (http://books. google. com/?id=xJFtQgAACAAJ&dq=afghanistan,+les+tresors+retrouves). 
Editions de la Reunion des musees nationaux. pp. 297. ISBN 9782711852185. 

• Bose, Partha (2003). Alexander the Great's Art of Strategy . Crows Nest, N.S.W: Allen & Unwin. 
ISBN 1741141133. 

• Bos worth, A.B. (1988). Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great. New York: Cambridge 
University Press. 

• Cawthorne, Nigel (2004). Alexander the Great. Haus Publishing. ISBN 190434156X. 

• Chamoux, Francois; Roussel, Michel (2003). Hellenistic Civilization. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0631222421. 

• Connerney, R.D. (2009). The upside-down tree: India's changing culture ( 
?id=4WadcncjsRUC&pg=PA68&dq=sikandar+++alexander#v=onepage&q=sikandar +alexander&f=false). 
Algora Publishing, pp. 214. ISBN 0875866492. 

• Curtis, J.; Tallis, N; Andre-Salvini, B. (2005). Forgotten empire: the world of ancient Persia (http://books. 
google, com/books ?id=kJnaKu9DdNEC&pg=PA 1 54&dq=Alexander+++goj astak&hl=en& 
ei=Rd25TrynCsXJiQKasey8BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&). University of California Press, p. 154. 
ISBN 0520247310. 

• Dahmen, Karsten (2007). The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins. Taylor & Francis. 
ISBN 0415394511. 

• Danforth, Loring M. (1997). The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World. Princeton 
University Press. ISBN 0691043566. 

• Dillon, John M. (2004). Morality and custom in ancient Greece. Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253345264. 

• Durant, Will (1966). The Story of Civilization: The Life of Greece. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671418009. 

• Fermor, Patrick Leigh (2006). Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese ( 
?id=8V5QBkD7IIYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=patrick+leigh+fermor+mani#v=onepage&q=alexander & 
f=false). New York Book Review, pp. 358. ISBN 1590171888. 

Alexander the Great 73 

• Fischer, M.M.J. (2004). Mute dreams, blind owls, and dispersed knowledges: Persian poesis in the transnational 
circuitry (http://books. google. com/?id=KibBH6cI8BgC&pg=PA66&dq=Alexander+++ 
shahnameh#v=onepage&q=Alexander +shahnameh&f=false). Duke University Press, p. 66. ISBN 0822332981. 

• Foreman, Laura (2004). Alexander the conqueror: the epic story of the warrior king ( 
books?id=rVEa4nzLkT4C&pg=PA152&dq=vandalism+in+Persepolis#v=onepage&q=vandalism in 
Persepolis&f=false). Da Capo Press, pp. 217. ISBN 9780306812934. 

• Fox, Robin Lane (2006) (Kindle Edition). Alexander the Great. ePenguin. ASIN B002RI9DYW. 

• Fox, Robin Lane (1980). The Search for Alexander. Little Brown & Co. Boston. ISBN 0316291080. 

• Gabriel, Richard A. (2002). "The army of Byzantium" (http://books. google. com/?id=ylngxn_xTOIC& 
printsec=frontcover&q=romano-Hellenistic). The Great Armies of Antiquity. Greenwood Publishing Group, 
p. 277. ISBN 0275978095. 

• Gergel, Tania, ed. (2004). The Brief Life and Towering Exploits of History's Greatest Conqueror as Told By His 
Original Biographers. Penguin Books. ISBN 0142001406. 

• Glick, Thomas F.; Livesey, Steven John; Wallis, Faith, eds. (2005). Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: 
An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-96930-1. 

• Goldsworthy, A. (2003). The Fall of Carthage. Cassel. ISBN 0304366420. 

• Grafton, Anthony; Most, Glenn W.; Settis, Salvatore (eds.) (2010). The Classical Tradition. Harvard University 
Press. ISBN 9780674035720. 

• Green, Peter (2007). Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age. London: Phoenix. ISBN 9780753824139. 

• Grimal, Nicolas (1992). A History of Ancient Egypt (reprint ed.). Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 9780631 174721. 

• Gunther, John (2007). Alexander the Great. Sterling. ISBN 1402745192. 

• Hammond, N.G.L. (1986). A History of Greece to 323 BC. Cambridge University. 

• Hammond, N.G.L. (1983). Sources for Alexander the Great (http://books. google. com/?id=gay_il4p9oEC& 
pg=PA72&lpg=PA72&dq="statue+of+Xerxes"+alexander&q=). Cambridge University Press. 

ISBN 9780521714716. 

• Harrison, E.F. (1971). The language of the New Testament (http://books. google. com/?id=qh7b4o6JQpIC& 
pg=PA51&dq=armies+of+alexander+the+great+koine#v=onepage&q&f=false). Wm. B. Eerdmans 
Publishing, p. 508. ISBN 0802847862. 

• Holland, Tom (2003). Rubicon: Triumph and Tragedy in the Roman Republic. Abacus. ISBN 97803491 15634. 

• Holt, Frank Lee (2003). Alexander the Great and The Mystery of the Elephant Medallions. University of 
California Press. ISBN 0520238818. 

• Keay, John (2001). India: A History. Grove Press. ISBN 0802137970. 

• Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940). Jones, Sir Henry Stuart; McKenzie, Roderick, eds. A Greek-English 
Lexicon on Perseus Digital Library. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 

• Luniya, Bhanwarlal Nathuram (1978). Life and Culture in Ancient India: From the Earliest Times to 1000 A.D.. 
Lakshmi Narain Agarwal. LCCN 78907043. 

• McCarty, Nick (2004). Alexander the Great. Camberwell, Victoria: Penguin. ISBN 0670042684. 

• McCrindle, J. W. (1997). "Curtius". In Singh, Fauja; Joshi, L. M.. History of Punjab. I. Patiala: Punjabi 

• McKechnie, Paul (1989). Outsiders in the Greek cities in the fourth century B.C. ( 
the+opposite+direction+from+Europe+to+Asia#v=onepage&q&f=false). Taylor & Francis, p. 54. 

ISBN 0415003407. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 

• Morkot, Robert (1996). The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece. Penguin. 

• Narain, AK (1965). Alexander the Great: Greece and Rome— 12. 

• Ogden, Daniel (2009). "Alexander's Sex Life". In Alice Heckel, Waldemar Heckel, Lawrence A. Tritle. Alexander 
the Great: A New History. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 1405130822. 

Alexander the Great 74 

• Pingree, D. (1978). "History of Mathematical Astronomy in India". Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 15. 
pp. 533-633. 

• Pratt, James Bissett (1996). The Pilgrimage of Buddhism and a Buddhist Pilgrimage. Laurier Books. 
ISBN 8120611969. 

• Renault, Mary (2001). The Nature of Alexander the Great. Penguin. ISBN 014139076X. 

• Ring, Trudy; Salkin, Robert M.; Berney, K. A. et al, eds. (1994). International dictionary of historic places. 
Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1994-1996. ISBN 9781884964046. 

• Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (2010). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia ( 
books?id=lkYFVJ3U-BIC). John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 1405179368. 

• Sabin, P; van Wees, H; Whitby, M (2007). The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare: Greece, the 
Hellenistic World and the Rise of Rome. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521782732. 

• Sacks, David (1995). Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World. Constable and Co.. ISBN 0094752702. 

• Stoneman, Richard (2004). Alexander the Great. Routledge. ISBN 0415319323. 

• Stoneman, Richard (1996). "The Metamorphoses of Alexander Romance". In Schmeling; Gareth L.. The Novel in 
the Ancient World. BRILL, pp. 601-612. ISBN 9004096302. 

• Studniczka, Franz (1894). Achdologische Jahrbook 9. 

• Tripathi, Rama Shankar (1999). History of Ancient India (http://books. google. com/?id=WbrcVcT-GbUC). 
ISBN 9788120800182. 

• Heckel, Waldemar; Tritle, Lawrence A., eds. (2009). Alexander the Great: A New History (http://books. google. 
of olynthus conspiracy). Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 47-48. ISBN 9781405130820. 

• Wood, Michael (2001). In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: A Journey from Greece to Asia (http://books. 
google. com/?id=5wDWnldL6HMC&pg=PA226&dq=alexander+the+great+++fever#v=onepage& 
q=alexander the great +fever&f=false). University of California Press. ISBN 9780520231924. 

• Worthington, Ian (2003). Alexander the Great: A Reader (http://books. google. com/?id=OiM51I7_AlgC& 
pg=PA175&dq=Alexander+Nicaea+Punjab#v=onepage&q=Alexander Nicaea Punjab&f=false). Routledge. 
pp. 332. ISBN 0415291879. 

• Yenne, Bill (2010). Alexander the Great: Lessons From History's Undefeated General. Palmgrave McMillan. 
ISBN 9780230619159. 

Further reading 

• Badian, Ernst (1958). "Alexander the Great and the Unity of Mankind". Historia 7: 425-444. 

• Beazley, JD; Ashmole, B. (1932). Greek Sculpture and Painting. Cambridge University Press. 

• Bowra, Maurice (1994). The Greek Experience. Phoenix Books. ISBN 1857991222. 

• Burn, A.R. (1951). Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Empire (2 ed.). London: English Universities Press. 

• Curtius. "Curtius Rufus, History of Alexander the Great" (http://penelope.uchicago.edU/Thayer/E/Roman/ 
Texts/Curtius/home.html). Retrieved 16 November 2009. (Latin) 

• Encyclopaedia Britannica (1910). Encyclopaedia Britannica ( 
books?id=6_ctAAAAIAAJ&q=Nicaea+Mong&dq=Nicaea+Mong). 14. Books. google. ca. Retrieved 29 January 

• Engels, Donald W. (1978). Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army. Berkeley: University 
of California Press. 

• Fawcett, Bill, ed. (2006). How To Lose A Battle: Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders. Harper. 
ISBN 0060760249. 

• Fuller, J.F.C. (1958). The Generalship of Alexander the Great. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode. 

• Green, Peter (1992). Alexander of Macedon: 356—323 B.C. A Historical Biography. University of California 
Press. ISBN 0520071662. 

Alexander the Great 75 

• Greene, Robert (2000). The 48 Laws of Power. Penguin Books, p. 351. ISBN 0140280197. 

• Hammond, N.G.L. (1994). Alexander the Great: King, Commander, and Statesman (3 ed.). London: Bristol 
Classical Press. 

• Hammond, N.G.L. (1997). The Genius of Alexander the Great. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 

• Hammond, N.G.L. (1989). The Macedonian State: Origins, Institutions, and History. Oxford University Press. 
ISBN 0198148836. 

• Justin (1853). "Justin: Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Tragus" ( 
literature/justin/english/index.html). Retrieved 14 November 2009. Rev. John Selby 
Watson, translator(English) 

• McCrindle, J.W. (1893). The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great as Described by Arrian, Q Curtius, 
Diodorus, Plutarch, and Justin (http://books. google. com/books ?id=A9YNAAAAIAAJ). Westminster: 
Archibald Constable and Co. 

• Murphy, James Jerome; Richard A. Katula, Forbes I. Hill, Donovan J. Ochs (2003). A Synoptic History of 
Classical Rhetoric. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, p. 17. ISBN 1880393352. 

• Nandan, Y.; Bhavan, BV (2003). British Death March Under Asiatic Impulse: Epic of Anglo-Indian Tragedy in 
Afghanistan. Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. ISBN 8172763018. 

• O'Brien, John Maxwell (1992). Alexander the Great: The Invisible Enemy. London: Routledge. 

• Pomeroy, S.; Burstein, S.; Dolan, W.; Roberts, J. (1998). Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural 
History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195097424. 

• Roisman, Joseph, ed. (1995). Alexander the Great Ancient and Modern Perspectives. Problems in European 
Civilization. Lexington, MA.: D.C. Heath. 

• Savill, Agnes (1959). Alexander the Great and His Time (3 ed.). London: Barrie and Rockliff. 

• Singh, Kirpal (2005). Kambojas Through the Ages. p. 134. 

• Stewart, Andrew (1993). Faces of Power: Alexander's Image and Hellenistic Politics. Hellenistic Culture and 
Society. 11. Berkeley: University of California Press. 

• Stoneman, Richard (2008). Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend. Yale University Press. 
ISBN 978-0-300-11203-0. 

• Tarn, W.W. (1948). Alexander the Great. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

• Wilcken, Ulrich (1997) [1932]. Alexander the Great. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393003817. 

• Worthington, Ian (2004). Alexander the Great: Man And God. Pearson. ISBN 978 1405801621 . 

External links 

• Alexander the Great ( 
Alexander_the_Great//) at the Open Directory Project 

• Alexander the Great: An annotated list of primary sources ( 
alexander_zlb.html) from 

• The Elusive Tomb of Alexander the Great: ( 

• Two Great Historians On Alexander the Great (conversations between historians James Romm and Paul 
Cartledge), on Forbes: Part 1 ( 

two-great-historians-on-alexander-the-great-part-one/), Part 2 ( 
two-great-historians-on-alexander-the-great-part-two/), Part 3 ( 
two-historians-talk-alexander-the-great-part-3/), Part 4 ( 1/01/03/ 
two-great-historians-talk-alexander-the-great-part-4/), Part 5 ( 1/01/10/ 
how-great-a-general-was-alexander/?boxes=financechannelforbes), Part 6 ( 

Alexander I of Georgia 


Alexander I of Georgia 

Alexander I 

King of Kings of Georgia 

A fresco of the royal person from the Nabakhtevi monastery in Georgia. An inscription in the Georgian asomtavruli script identifies 

him as "Alexander, King of Kings". 


King of Georgia 



Constantine I 
Vakhtang IV 


Dulandukht Orbelian 
Tamar of Imereti 


Vakhtang IV 

Demetre III of Imereti 

George VIII 

Patriarch David 


Bagrationi, Empress of Trebizond 

Full name 

Alexander I the Great 
Aleksandre I Didi 
Athanasius (monastery name) 



Constantine I of Georgia 


Natia Amirejibi 


between August 26, 1445 and March 7, 1446 
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta 


Georgian Orthodox Church 

Alexander I, "the Great" (Georgian: ^c^^Jb^Bco^ I coocoo, Alexandre I Didi) (1386 — between August 26, 1445 and 
March 7, 1446), of the Bagrationi house, was king of Georgia from 1412 to 1442. Despite his efforts to restore the 
country from the ruins left by the Turco-Mongol warlord Timur Leng's invasions, Georgia never recovered and faced 

Alexander I of Georgia 77 

the inevitable fragmentation that was followed by a long period of stagnation. In 1442, he abdicated the throne and 
retired to a monastery. 


Alexander was the eldest son of Constantine I of Georgia and his wife Natia, daughter of the Georgian diplomat 
prince Kutsna Amirejibi. He was brought up by his grandmother (Natia's mother) Rusa (died 1413), an educated and 
religious noblewoman, who greatly influenced the future king's preoccupations and his enthusiasm for religious 

With his ascension to the throne (1412), Alexander moved to western Georgia and mediated a peace between his 
vassals, the rival princes of Mingrelia and Abkhazia. Then he, in 1414, met the rebellious prince Atabeg Ivane Jakeli 
of Samtskhe on battlefield and forced him into submission. Having dealt with these powerful feudal lords, he, aided 
by Catholicos Patriarch Shio II, began a program the restoration of major Georgian fortresses and churches. He 
imposed a temporary building tax on his subjects from 1425 to 1440, but despite the king's efforts many towns and 
villages, once flourished, were left in ruin and overgrown by forest. 

In 1431, he re-conquered Lorri, a Georgian marchland occupied by the Kara Koyunlu Turkoman tribesmen of Persia 
who had frequently raided the southern Georgian marches from there and had even sacked Akhaltsikhe in 1416. 
Around 1434/5, Alexander encouraged the Armenian prince Beshken II Orbelian to attack the Kara Koyunlu 
clansmen in Syunik (Siunia) and, for his victory, granted him Lorri under terms of vassalage. In 1440, Alexander 
refused to pay tribute to Jahan Shah of the Kara Kouynlu. In March, Jahan Shah surged into Georgia with 20,000 
troops, destroyed the city of Samshvilde and sacked the capital city Tbilisi. He massacred thousands of Christians, 
put heavy indemnity on Georgia, and returned to Tabriz. 

In order to reduce the power of frequently rebellious aristocracy, he opposed them by appointing his sons — 
Vakhtang, Demetre, and George — as his co-rulers in Kakheti, Imereti and Kartli, respectively. This, however, 
proved to be even dangerous to the kingdom's integrity and the fragile unity kept by Alexander would soon 
disappear under his sons. For this reason, Alexander the Great is frequently claimed to have disintegrated Georgia 
and said not to deserve his epithet "the Great" his people bestowed on him. This appellation dates almost from his 
own day, however, and as the modern Georgian historian Ivane Javakhishvili presumes, might have been related to 
the large-scale restoration projects launched by the king and his initial success in the struggle with the Turkmen 

As worldly problems overwhelmed his kingdom, Alexander abdicated the throne in 1442 and retired to a monastery 
under the name of Athanasius. 

Marriages and children 

He married c. 141 1 Dulandukht, daughter of Beshken II Orbelian, by whom he had two sons: 

• Vakhtang IV, King of Georgia 

• Demetre (1413—1452), co-ruler in Imereti; father of Constantine II 

Alexander's second marriage with Tamar (died 1455), daughter of prince Alexander I of Imereti, took place around 
1414. Their children were: 

• George VIII, the last king of a united Georgia and the first king of independent Kakheti 

• David (1417—1471), Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia 

• Zaal(1425-c. 1442) 

• Bagrationi (1415 — c. 1438) who married, 1425, the emperor John IV of Trebizond 

Alexander I of Georgia 



[1] According to the 15th-century Armenian historian Thomas of Metsoph (T'ovma Metsobets 'i), the Kara Kouynlu leader Kara Yusuf invaded 
Samtskhe and pillaged its capital Akhaltsikhe in 1416 in response to the profanation inflicted by the local Christian Georgians and Armenians 
on a mosque. 

[2] Suny( 1994), page 45 

[3] Ivane Javakhishvili (1982), page 243 


1. Ivane Javakhishvili, The History of the Georgian Nation, vol. 3 (1982), Tbilisi State University Press (In 

2. Ronald Grigor Suny, The Making of the Georgian Nation: 2nd edition (December 1994), Indiana University 
Press, ISBN 0-253-20915-3 

3. T'oma Metsobeli's History of Tamerlane and His Successors ( 

4. Kings of Georgia at the Royal Ark website ( 

Alfonso III of Leon 

Alfonso III (c. 848 — December 910), called the Great, was the king 
of Leon, Galicia and Asturias from 866 until his death. He was the son 
and successor of Ordono I. In later sources he is the earliest to be 
called "Emperor of Spain". He was also titled "Prince of all Galicia" 
(Princeps totius Galletiae ). 

Little is known about Alfonso except the bare facts of his reign and of 
his comparative success in consolidating the kingdom during the 
weakness of the Umayyad princes of Cordoba. He fought against and 
gained numerous victories over the Muslims of al-Andalus, 
nonetheless his kingdom was always inferior to that of the Cordobans, 
and he was thus forced to pay them tribute. 

He defeated a Basque rebellion in 867 and, much later, a Galician one 
as well. He conquered Oporto and Coimbra in 868 and 878 
respectively. In about 869, he formed an alliance with the Kingdom of 
Pamplona, and solidified this link by marrying Jimena, who is thought 
to have been daughter of king Garcia Ifiiguez, or less likely, a member 
of the Jimenez dynasty, and also married his sister Leodegundia to a 
prince of Pamplona. 


Miniature from the archives of Oviedo Cathedral 

showing Alfonso III flanked by his queen, Jimena 

Garces (left), and his bishop, Gomelo II (right). 

He ordered the creation of three chronicles which presented the theory 

that the kingdom of Asturias was the rightful successor of the old 

Visigothic kingdom. He was also a patron of the arts, like his grandfather before him. He built the church of Santo 

Adriano de Tunon. According to a letter of disputed authenticity dated to 906, the Epistola Adefonsi Hispaniae regis, 

Alfonso arranged to purchase an "imperial crown" from the cathedral of Tours 


A year before his death, three of Alfonso's sons rose in rebellion and forced him to abdicate, partitioning the 
kingdom among them. The eldest son, Garcia, became king of Leon. The second son, Ordono, reigned in Galicia, 
while the third, Fruela, received Asturias with Oviedo as his capital. Alfonso died in Zamora, probably in 910. His 

Alfonso III of Leon 79 

former realm would be reunited when first Garcia died childless and Leon passed to Ordono. He in turn died when 
his children were too young to ascend, Fruela became king of a reunited crown. His death the next year initiated a 
series of internecine struggles that led to unstable succession for over a century. 


[1] Espaiia Sagrada. Memorias de los insignes monasteries de San Julian de Samos, y San Vicente de Monforte. ( 
oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=l&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Princeps totius Galletiae&f=false) 

[2] R. A. Fletcher, Saint James's Catapult: The Life and Times of Diego Gelmirez of Santiago de Compostela (Oxford, 1984), 3 17— 23. 

• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (191 1). 
Encyclopedia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Alfred the Great 


Alfred the Great 


Statue of Alfred the Great by Harao Thornycroft in 

Winchester, unveiled during the millenary celebrations of Alfred's death. 

Statue of Alfred the Great by Hamo Thornycroft in 

Winchester, unveiled during the millenary celebrations of Alfred's death. 

King of Wessex 


23 April 871-26 October 899 








iEthelflaed, Lady of the Mercians 
Edward, King of Wessex 
iEthelgifu of Wessex 
iEthelweard of Wessex 
jElfthryth, Countess of Flanders 

Full name 

Alfred of Wessex 


House of Wessex 


jEthelwulf, King of Wessex 





The Royal Palace, Wantage, Oxfordshire 


26 October 899 (around 50) Winchester 


ca. 1100 

Hyde Abbey, Winchester, Hampshire, now lost 

Alfred the Great (Old English: JElfred, JElfrced, "elf counsel"; 849 — 26 October 899) was King of Wessex from 
871 to 899. 

Alfred successfully defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, and by his death had become the 
dominant ruler in England. He is the only English monarch to be accorded the epithet "the Great". Alfred was 
the first King of the West Saxons to style himself "King of the Anglo-Saxons". Details of his life are described in a 
work by the 10th century Welsh scholar and bishop Asser. Alfred was a learned and merciful man who encouraged 
education and improved his kingdom's legal system and military structure. 

Alfred the Great 



Further information: House of Wessex family tree 

Alfred was born in the village of Wanating, now Wantage, Oxfordshire. He was 
the youngest son of King iEthelwulf of Wessex, by his first wife, Osburh. 

In 853, at the age of four, Alfred is said to have been sent to Rome where, 
according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was confirmed by Pope Leo IV 
who "anointed him as king". Victorian writers interpreted this as an anticipatory 
coronation in preparation for his ultimate succession to the throne of Wessex. 
However, his succession could not have been foreseen at the time, as Alfred had 
three living elder brothers. A letter of Leo IV shows that Alfred was made a 
"consul"; a misinterpretation of this investiture, deliberate or accidental, could 
explain later confusion. It may also be based on Alfred's later having 
accompanied his father on a pilgrimage to Rome where he spent some time at the 
court of Charles the Bald, King of the Franks, around 854—855. 

Prince Alfred on his first boar-hunt 

Queen Osburga reads for her son 

Alfred, who would become Alfred 

the Great. 

On their return from Rome in 856, iEthelwulf was deposed by his son jEthelbald. 
With civil war looming, the magnates of the realm met in council to hammer out 
a compromise. iEthelbald would retain the western shires (i.e., traditional 
Wessex), and ^Ethelwulf would rule in the east. 

When King iEthelwulf died in 858, Wessex was ruled by three of Alfred's 
brothers in succession, jEthelbald, iEthelbert and jEthelred. 

Bishop Asser tells the story of how as a child Alfred won a prize of a volume of 
poetry in English, offered by his mother to the first of her children able to 
memorise it. Legend also has it that the young Alfred spent time in Ireland 
seeking healing. Alfred was troubled by health problems throughout his life. It is 
thought that he may have suffered from Crohn's disease. Statues of Alfred in 
Winchester and Wantage portray him as a great warrior. Evidence suggests he 
was not physically strong, and though not lacking in courage, he was more noted 
for his intellect than a warlike character. 

Under ^thelred 


During the short reigns of the older two of his three elder brothers, iEthelbald of 
Wessex and iEthelberht of Wessex, Alfred is not mentioned. However, his public 
life began with the accession of his third brother, ^Ethelred of Wessex, in 866. It is during this period that Bishop 
Asser applied to him the unique title of "secundarius", which may indicate a position akin to that of the Celtic tanist, 
a recognised successor closely associated with the reigning monarch. It is possible that this arrangement was 
sanctioned by Alfred's father, or by the Witan, to guard against the danger of a disputed succession should iEthelred 
fall in battle. The arrangement of crowning a successor as royal prince and military commander is well known 
among other Germanic tribes, such as the Swedes and Franks, to whom the Anglo-Saxons were closely related. 

In 868, Alfred is recorded as fighting beside ^Ethelred in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the invading Danes led by 
Ivar the Boneless out of the adjoining Kingdom of Mercia. However, at the end of 870, the Danes arrived in his 
homeland. The year which followed has been called "Alfred's year of battles". Nine engagements were fought with 
varying outcomes, though the place and date of two of these battles have not been recorded. 

In Berkshire, a successful skirmish at the Battle of Englefield on 31 December 870 was followed by a severe defeat 
at the siege and Battle of Reading by Ivar's brother Halfdan Ragnarsson on 5 January 871; then, four days later, 

Alfred the Great 


Alfred won a brilliant victory at the Battle of Ashdown on the Berkshire Downs, possibly near Compton or 
Aldworth. Alfred is particularly credited with the success of this latter battle. However, later that month, on 22 
January, the English were defeated at the Battle of Basing and, on the 22 March at the Battle of Merton (perhaps 
Marden in Wiltshire or Martin in Dorset), in which iEthelred was killed. The two unidentified battles may have 
occurred in between 


King at war 

Early struggles, defeat and flight 

In April 871, King iEthelred died, and Alfred succeeded to the throne 

of Wessex and the burden of its defence, despite the fact that iEthelred 

left two under-age sons, iEthelhelm and iEthelwold. This was in 

accordance with the agreement that iEthelred and Alfred had made 

earlier that year in an assembly at Swinbeorg. The brothers had agreed 

that whichever of them outlived the other would inherit the personal 

property that King iEthelwulf had left jointly to his sons in his will. 

The deceased's sons would receive only whatever property and riches 

their father had settled upon them and whatever additional lands their 

uncle had acquired. The unstated premise was that the surviving 

brother would be king. Given the ongoing Danish invasion and the youth of his nephews, Alfred's succession 

probably went uncontested. Tensions between Alfred and his nephews, however, would arise later in his reign. 

Alfred the Great plots the capture of the Danish 

Coin of Alfred, king of Wessex, London, 880 

(based upon a Roman model). 

Obv: King with royal band in profile, with 

legend: ALFRED REX "King Alfred". 

While he was busy with the burial ceremonies for his brother, the 
Danes defeated the English in his absence at an unnamed spot, and 


then again in his presence at Wilton in May. The defeat at Wilton 
smashed any remaining hope that Alfred could drive the invaders from 
his kingdom. He was forced, instead, to 'make peace' with them. The 
sources do not tell what the terms of the peace were. Bishop Asser 
claimed that the 'pagans' agreed to vacate the realm and made good 
their promise; and, indeed, the Viking army did withdraw from 
Reading in the autumn of 871 to take up winter quarters in Mercian 
London. Although not mentioned by Asser or by the Anglo-Saxon 
Chronicle, Alfred probably also paid the Vikings cash to leave, much 
as the Mercians were to do in the following year. Hoards dating to 
the Viking occupation of London in 871/2 have been excavated at 
Croydon, Gravesend, and Waterloo Bridge; these finds hint at the cost 
involved in making peace with the Vikings. For the next five years, the 

Danes occupied other parts of England 


In 876 under their new leader, Guthrum, the Danes slipped past the English army and attacked and occupied 


Wareham in Dorset. Alfred blockaded them but was unable to take Wareham by assault. Accordingly, he 
negotiated a peace which involved an exchange of hostages and oaths, which the Danes swore on a "holy ring" 


associated with the worship of Thor. The Danes, however, broke their word and, after killing all the hostages, 
slipped away under cover of night to Exeter in Devon. There, Alfred blockaded them, and with a relief fleet having 
been scattered by a storm, the Danes were forced to submit. They withdrew to Mercia, but, in January 878, made a 
sudden attack on Chippenham, a royal stronghold in which Alfred had been staying over Christmas, "and most of the 

Alfred the Great 


people they killed, except the King Alfred, and he with a little band made his way by wood and swamp, and after 
Easter he made a fort at Athelney in the marshes of Somerset, and from that fort kept fighting against the foe". 
From his fort at Athelney, an island in the marshes near North Petherton, Alfred was able to mount an effective 


resistance movement, rallying the local militias from Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. 

A popular legend, originating from 12th century chronicles, tells ^^ _^ ^ 

how when he first fled to the Somerset Levels, Alfred was given 
shelter by a peasant woman who, unaware of his identity, left him to 
watch some cakes she had left cooking on the fire. Preoccupied with 
the problems of his kingdom, Alfred accidentally let the cakes burn. 

870 was the low-water mark in the history of the Anglo-Saxon 
kingdoms. With all the other kingdoms having fallen to the Vikings, 
Wessex alone was still resisting. 

Alfred the Great is scolded by his subject, a 

neatherd's wife, for not turning the breads but 

readily eating them when they are baked in her 


Counterattack and victory 

King Alfred's Tower (1772) on the 
supposed site of Egbert's Stone, the 

mustering place before the Battle of 


In the seventh week after Easter [4—10 May 878], around Whitsuntide, Alfred 
rode to 'Egbert's Stone' east of Selwood, where he was met by "all the people of 
Somerset and of Wiltshire and of that part of Hampshire which is on this side of 


the sea [that is, west of Southampton Water], and they rejoiced to see him". 
Alfred's emergence from his marshland stronghold was part of a carefully 
planned offensive that entailed raising the fyrds of three shires. This meant not 
only that the king had retained the loyalty of ealdormen, royal reeves and king's 
thegns (who were charged with levying and leading these forces), but that they 
had maintained their positions of authority in these localities well enough to 
answer his summons to war. Alfred's actions also suggest a finely honed system 
of scouts and messengers. 

Alfred won a decisive victory in the ensuing Battle of Ethandun, which may have 


been fought near Westbury, Wiltshire. He then pursued the Danes to their stronghold at Chippenham and starved 
them into submission. One of the terms of the surrender was that Guthrum convert to Christianity; and three weeks 

later the Danish king and 29 of his chief men were baptised at Alfred's court at Aller, near Athelney, with Alfred 

receiving Guthrum as his spiritual son. The "unbinding of the chrism" took place with great ceremony eight days 

later at the royal estate at Wedmore in Somerset, after which Guthrum fulfilled his promise to leave Wessex. There is 

no contemporary evidence that Alfred and Guthrum agreed upon a formal treaty at this time; the so-called Treaty of 

Wedmore is an invention of modern historians. The Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum, preserved in Old English in 

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (Manuscript 383), and in a Latin compilation known as Quadripartitus, was 


negotiated later, perhaps in 879 or 880, when King Ceolwulf II of Mercia was deposed. That treaty divided up the 
kingdom of Mercia. By its terms the boundary between Alfred's and Guthrum's kingdoms was to run up the River 

Alfred the Great 84 

Thames, to the River Lea; follow the Lea to its source (near Luton); from there extend in a straight line to Bedford; 
and from Bedford follow the River Ouse to Watling Street. In other words, Alfred succeeded to Ceolwulf's kingdom, 
consisting of western Mercia; and Guthrum incorporated the eastern part of Mercia into an enlarged kingdom of East 
Anglia (henceforward known as the Danelaw). By terms of the treaty, moreover, Alfred was to have control over the 
Mercian city of London and its mints — at least for the time being. The disposition of Essex, held by West Saxon 
kings since the days of Egbert, is unclear from the treaty, though, given Alfred's political and military superiority, it 
would have been surprising if he had conceded any disputed territory to his new godson. 

The quiet years; Restoration of London 

With the signing of the Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum, an event most 
commonly held to have taken place around 880 when Guthrum's 
people began settling East Anglia, Guthrum was neutralised as a 
threat. In conjunction with this agreement an army of Danish left 
the island and sailed to Ghent. Alfred however was still forced to 
contend with a number of Danish threats. A year later in 881 Alfred 

fought a small sea battle against four Danish ships "On the high 

seas . Two of the ships were destroyed and the others surrendered 

. , r ., n [181 r,- -i ii i • • i -i-i i Plaque in the City of London noting the 

to Alfreds forces. Similar small skirmishes with independent 


This plaque was erected in 1986 to mark the eleven hundredth 
anniversary of King Alfred's resettlement of the 
London in 886. after the abandom 
had existed for some three cent 
west of the City. At this place a I 

Viking raiders would have occurred for much of the period as they had 
for decades. 

restoration of the Roman walled city by Alfred 

In the year 883, though there is some debate over the year, King Alfred, because of his support and his donation of 
alms to Rome, received a number of gifts from the Pope Marinus. Among these gifts was reputed to be a piece of 
the true cross, a true treasure for the devout Saxon king. According to Asser, because of Pope Marinus' friendship 
with King Alfred, the pope granted an exemption to any Anglo-Saxons residing within Rome from tax or tribute. 

After the signing of the treaty with Guthrum, Alfred was spared any large-scale conflicts for some time. Despite this 
relative peace, the king was still forced to deal with a number of Danish raids and incursions. Among these was a 
raid taking place in Kent, an allied country in Southeast England, during the year 885, which was quite possibly the 
largest raid since the battles with Guthrum. Asser's account of the raid places the Danish raiders at the Saxon city of 
Rochester, where they built a temporary fortress in order to besiege the city. In response to this incursion, Alfred 
led an Anglo-Saxon force against the Danes who, instead of engaging the army of Wessex, fled to their beached 
ships and sailed to another part of Britain. The retreating Danish force supposedly left Britain the following 



Not long after the failed Danish raid in Kent, Alfred dispatched his fleet to East Anglia. The purpose of this 


expedition is debated, though Asser claims that it was for the sake of plunder. After traveling up the River Stour, 


the fleet was met by Danish vessels that numbered 13 or 16 (sources vary on the number) and a battle ensued. 


The Anglo-Saxon Fleet emerged victorious and as Huntingdon accounts, laden with spoils. The victorious fleet 
was then caught unaware when attempting to leave the River Stour and was attacked by a Danish force at the mouth 

of the river. The Danish fleet was able to defeat Alfred's fleet which may have been weakened in the previous 

,. [23] 


A year later, in 886, Alfred reoccupied the city of London and set out to make it habitable again. Alfred entrusted 
the city to the care of his son-in law iEthelred, ealdorman of Mercia. The restoration of London progressed through 
the later half of the 880s and is believed to have revolved around a new street plan, added fortifications in addition to 
the existing Roman walls, and, some believe, the construction of matching fortifications on the South bank of the 


River Thames. This is also the period in which almost all chroniclers agree that the Saxon people of 
pre-unification England submitted to Alfred. This was not, however, the point in which Alfred came to be known 
as King of England; in fact he would never adopt the title for himself. In truth the power which Alfred wielded over 

Alfred the Great 85 

the English peoples at this time seemed to stem largely from the military might of the West Saxons, Alfred's political 
connections from having the ruler of Mercia as his son-in-law, and Alfred's keen administration talents. 

Between the restoration of London and the resumption of large scale Danish attacks in the early 890s, Alfred's reign 
was rather uneventful. The relative peace of the late 880s was marred by the death of Alfred's sister, jEthelswith, 


who died en route to Rome in 888. In the same year the Archbishop of Canterbury, ^Ethelred also passed away. 
One year later Guthrum, or Athelstan by his baptised name, Alfred's former enemy and king of East Anglia, died and 
was buried in Hadleigh, Suffolk. Guthrum's passing marked a change in the political sphere Alfred dealt with. 
Guthrum's death created a power vacuum which would stir up other power— hungry warlords eager to take his place 
in the following years. The quiet years of Alfred's life were coming to a close, and war was on the horizon. 

Further Viking attacks repelled 

After another lull, in the autumn of 892 or 893, the Danes attacked again. Finding their position in mainland Europe 
precarious, they crossed to England in 330 ships in two divisions. They entrenched themselves, the larger body at 
Appledore, Kent, and the lesser, under Hastein, at Milton, also in Kent. The invaders brought their wives and 
children with them, indicating a meaningful attempt at conquest and colonisation. Alfred, in 893 or 894, took up a 
position from which he could observe both forces. While he was in talks with Hastein, the Danes at Appledore broke 
out and struck northwestwards. They were overtaken by Alfred's oldest son, Edward, and were defeated in a general 
engagement at Farnham in Surrey. They took refuge on an island in the Hertfordshire Colne, where they were 
blockaded and were ultimately forced to submit. The force fell back on Essex and, after suffering another defeat at 


Benfleet, coalesced with Hastein's force at Shoebury. 

Alfred had been on his way to relieve his son at Thorney when he heard that the Northumbrian and East Anglian 
Danes were besieging Exeter and an unnamed stronghold on the North Devon shore. Alfred at once hurried 
westward and raised the Siege of Exeter. The fate of the other place is not recorded. Meanwhile, the force under 
Hastein set out to march up the Thames Valley, possibly with the idea of assisting their friends in the west. But they 
were met by a large force under the three great ealdormen of Mercia, Wiltshire and Somerset, and forced to head off 
to the northwest, being finally overtaken and blockaded at Buttington. Some identify this with Buttington Tump at 
the mouth of the River Wye, others with Buttington near Welshpool. An attempt to break through the English lines 
was defeated. Those who escaped retreated to Shoebury. Then, after collecting reinforcements, they made a sudden 
dash across England and occupied the ruined Roman walls of Chester. The English did not attempt a winter 
blockade, but contented themselves with destroying all the supplies in the neighbourhood. Early in 894 (or 895), 
want of food obliged the Danes to retire once more to Essex. At the end of this year and early in 895 (or 896), the 
Danes drew their ships up the River Thames and River Lea and fortified themselves twenty miles (32 km) north of 
London. A direct attack on the Danish lines failed but, later in the year, Alfred saw a means of obstructing the river 
so as to prevent the egress of the Danish ships. The Danes realised that they were outmanoeuvred. They struck off 
north-westwards and wintered at Cwatbridge near Bridgnorth. The next year, 896 (or 897), they gave up the struggle. 
Some retired to Northumbria, some to East Anglia. Those who had no connections in England withdrew back to the 

t [8] 


Alfred the Great 


Military reorganisation 

Wessex's history of failures preceding his success in 878 emphasised to 

Alfred that the traditional system of battle he had inherited played to 

the Danes' advantage. While both the Anglo-Saxons and the Danes 

attacked settlements to seize wealth and other resources, they 

employed very different strategies. In their raids, the Anglo-Saxons 

traditionally preferred to attack head-on by assembling their forces in a 

shield wall, advancing against their target and overcoming the 

oncoming wall marshaled against them in defence. In contrast, the 

Danes preferred to choose easy targets, mapping cautious forays 

designed to avoid risking all their accumulated plunder with high-stake 

attacks for more. Alfred determined their strategy was to launch 

smaller scaled attacks from a secure and reinforced defensible base 

which they could retreat to should their raiders meet strong resistance. 

These bases were prepared in advance, often by capturing an estate and 

augmenting its defences with surrounding ditches, ramparts and 

palisades. Once inside the fortification, Alfred realised, the Danes enjoyed the advantage, better situated to outlast 

their opponents or crush them with a counter attack as the provisions and stamina of the besieging forces waned 

Alfred the Great silver offering penny, 871-899. 


King of the Saxons". 


The means by which they marshaled the forces to defend against marauders also left the Anglo-Saxons vulnerable to 
the Vikings. It was only after the raids were underway that a call went out to landowners to gather men for battle, 
and large regions could be devastated before the newly assembled army arrived. And although the landowners were 
obliged to the king to supply these men when called, during the attacks in 878, many of them opportunistically 
abandoned their king and collaborated with Guthrum. 

With these lessons in mind, Alfred capitalised on the relatively peaceful years immediately following his victory at 
Ethandrun by focusing on an ambitious restructuring of his kingdom's military defences. When the Viking raids 

resumed in 892, Alfred was better prepared to confront them with a standing, mobile field army, a network of 

garrisons, and a small fleet of ships navigating the rivers and estuaries. 

Alfred the Great 


Burghal system 

. ■- 

At the centre of Alfred's reformed military defence system was a 

network of fortresses, or burhs, distributed at strategic points 

throughout the kingdom. There were thirty-three total spaced 

approximately 30 kilometres (20 mi) distant, enabling the military to 

T331 T34-1 
confront attacks anywhere in the kingdom within a single day. 

Alfred's burhs, (later termed boroughs), consisted mainly of massive 

earthen walls surrounded by wide ditches, probably reinforced with 

wooden revetments and palisades. The size of the burhs ranged 

from tiny outposts such as Pilton to large fortifications in established 

towns, the largest at Winchester. Many of the burhs were twin 

towns that straddled a river and connected by a fortified bridge, like 

those built by Charles the Bald a generation before. The double-burh 

blocked passage on the river, forcing Viking ships to navigate under a 

garrisoned bridge lined with men armed with stones, spears, or arrows. 

Other burhs were sited near fortified royal villas allowing the king 

better control over his strongholds 


A rare High Medieval image of Alfred, 1 3th 

This network of well-garrisoned burhs posed significant obstacles to 
Viking invaders, especially those laden with booty. The system 
threatened Viking routes and communications making it far more 
dangerous for the Viking raiders. However the Vikings lacked both the 
equipment necessary to undertake a siege against the burh and a 
developed doctrine of siegecraft, having tailored their methods of fighting to rapid strikes and unimpeded retreats to 
well defended fortifications. The only means left to them was to starve the burh into submission, but this allowed the 
king time to send assistance with his mobile field army or garrisons from neighbouring burhs. In such cases, the 
Vikings were extremely vulnerable to pursuit by the king's joint military forces. Alfred's burh system posed such 
a formidable challenge against Viking attack that when the Vikings returned in 892 and successfully stormed a 
half-made, poorly garrisoned fortress up the Lympne estuary in Kent, the Anglo-Saxons were able to limit their 

penetration to the outer frontiers of Wessex and Mercia 


Alfred's burghal system was revolutionary in its strategic conception and potentially expensive in its execution. His 
contemporary biographer Asser wrote that many nobles baulked at the new demands placed upon them even though 
they were for "the common needs of the kingdom". The cost of building the burhs was great in itself, but this 

paled before the cost of upkeep for these fortresses and the maintenance of their standing garrisons. A remarkable 
early tenth-century document, known as the Burghal Hidage, provides a formula for determining how many men 
were needed to garrison a borough, based on one man for every 5.5 yards (5 meters) of wall. This calculates to a total 

of 27,07 1 soldiers needed system wide, or approximately one in four of all the free men in Wessex 


Reconstituted fyrd 

Over the last two decades of his reign, Alfred undertook a radical reorganisation of the military institutions of his 
kingdom, strengthened the West Saxon economy through a policy of monetary reform and urban planning and strove 
to win divine favour by resurrecting the literary glories of earlier generations of Anglo-Saxons. Alfred pursued these 
ambitious programmes to fulfill, as he saw it, his responsibility as king. This justified the heavy demands he made 
upon his subjects' labour and finances. It even excused the expropriation of strategically located Church lands. 
Recreating the fyrd into a standing army, ringing Wessex with some thirty garrisoned fortified towns, and 
constructing new and larger ships for the royal fleet were costly endeavours that provoked resistance from noble and 

Alfred the Great 

peasant alike. But they paid off. When the Vikings returned in force in 892 they found a kingdom defended by a 
standing, mobile field army and a network of garrisoned fortresses that commanded its navigable rivers and Roman 

Alfred analysed the defects of the military system that he had inherited and implemented changes to remedy them. 
Alfred's military reorganisation of Wessex consisted of three elements: the building of thirty fortified and garrisoned 
towns (burhs) along the rivers and Roman roads of Wessex; the creation of a mobile (horsed) field force, consisting 
of his nobles and their warrior retainers, which was divided into two contingents, one of which was always in the 


field; and the enhancement of Wessex's seapower through the addition of larger ships to the existing royal fleet. 
Each element of the system was meant to remedy defects in the West Saxon military establishment exposed by the 
Viking invasions. If under the existing system he could not assemble forces quickly enough to intercept mobile 
Viking raiders, the obvious answer was to have a standing field force. If this entailed transforming the West Saxon 
fyrd from a sporadic levy of king's men and their retinues into a mounted standing army, so be it. If his kingdom 
lacked strongpoints to impede the progress of an enemy army, he would build them. If the enemy struck from the 
sea, he would counter them with his own naval power. Characteristically, all of Alfred's innovations were firmly 
rooted in traditional West Saxon practice, drawing as they did upon the three so-called 'common burdens' of bridge 
work, fortress repair and service on the king's campaigns that all holders of bookland and royal loanland owed the 
Crown. Where Alfred revealed his genius was in designing the field force and burhs to be parts of a coherent military 
system. Neither Alfred's reformed fyrd nor his burhs alone would have afforded a sufficient defence against the 
Vikings; together, however, they robbed the Vikings of their major strategic advantages: surprise and mobility. 

Administration and taxation 

To obtain the needed garrison troops and workers to build and maintain the burhs' defences, Alfred regularised and 

vastly expanded the existing (and, one might add, quite recent) obligation of landowners to provide 'fortress work' 

on the basis of the hidage assessed upon their lands. The allotments of the Burghal Hidage represent the creation 

of administrative districts for the support of the burhs. The landowners attached to Wallingford, for example, were 

responsible for producing and feeding 2,400 men, the number sufficient for maintaining 9,900 feet (3 km) of wall. 

Each of the larger burhs became the centre of a territorial district of considerable size, carved out of the neighbouring 

countryside in order to support the town. In one sense, Alfred conceived nothing truly new here. The shires of 

Wessex went back at least to the reign of King Ine, who probably also imposed a hidage assessment upon each for 

food rents and other services owed the Crown. 

Alfred the Great 


English navy 


Alfred also tried his hand at naval design. In 896, he 
ordered the construction of a small fleet, perhaps a 
dozen or so longships, that, at 60 oars, were twice the 
size of Viking warships. This was not, as the Victorians 
asserted, the birth of the English Navy. Wessex 
possessed a royal fleet before this. King Athelstan of 
Kent and Ealdorman Ealhhere had defeated a Viking 

fleet in 851, capturing nine ships, and Alfred 

himself had conducted naval actions in 882. But, 

clearly, the author of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and 

probably Alfred himself regarded 897 as marking an 

important development in the naval power of Wessex. 

The chronicler flattered his royal patron by boasting 

that Alfred's ships were not only larger, but swifter, 

steadier and rode higher in the water than either Danish 

or Frisian ships. (It is probable that, under the classical 

tutelage of Asser, Alfred utilised the design of Greek 

and Roman warships, with high sides, designed for 

fighting rather than for navigation.) Alfred had 

seapower in mind: if he could intercept raiding fleets 

before they landed, he could spare his kingdom from ravaging. Alfred's ships may have been superior in conception. 

However, in practice they proved to be too large to manoeuvre well in the close waters of estuaries and rivers, the 

only places in which a 'naval' battle could occur. (The warships of the time were not designed to be ship killers 

but troop carriers. A naval battle entailed a ship's coming alongside an enemy vessel, at which point the crew would 

lash the two ships together and board the enemy. The result was effectively a land battle involving hand-to-hand 

fighting on board the two lashed vessels.) 

The Alfred Jewel, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 
commissioned by Alfred. 

[4] [451 

In the one recorded naval engagement in the year 896, Alfred's new fleet of nine ships intercepted six Viking 

ships in the mouth of an unidentified river along the south of England. The Danes had beached half their ships, and 


gone inland, either to rest their rowers or to forage for food. Alfred's ships immediately moved to block their 


escape to the sea. The three Viking ships afloat attempted to break through the English lines. Only one made it, 

Alfred's ships intercepted the other two. Lashing the Viking boats to their own, the English crew boarded the 

enemy's vessels and proceeded to kill everyone on board. The one ship that escaped managed to do so only because 

all of Alfred's heavy ships became mired when the tide went out. What ensued was a land battle between the crews 

of the grounded ships. The Danes, heavily outnumbered, would have been wiped out if the tide had not risen. When 

that occurred, the Danes rushed back to their boats, which being lighter, with shallower drafts, were freed before 

Alfred's ships. Helplessly, the English watched as the Vikings rowed past them. But the pirates had suffered so many 

T451 T451 

casualties (120 Danes dead against 62 Frisians and English ), that they had difficulties putting out to sea. All 

were too damaged to row around Sussex and two were driven against the Sussex coast. The shipwrecked sailors 

were brought before Alfred at Winchester and were hanged 


Alfred the Great 


Legal reform 

In the late 880s or early 890s, Alfred issued a long domboc or law 

code, consisting of his "own" laws followed by a code issued by his 

late seventh-century predecessor King Ine of Wessex. Together these 

laws are arranged into 120 chapters. In his introduction, Alfred 

explains that he gathered together the laws he found in many 

'synod-books' and "ordered to be written many of the ones that our 

forefathers observed — those that pleased me; and many of the ones that 

did not please me, I rejected with the advice of my councillors, and 

commanded them to be observed in a different way." Alfred singled 

out in particular the laws that he "found in the days of Ine, my 

kinsman, or Offa, king of the Mercians, or King iEthelbert of Kent, 

who first among the English people received baptism." It is difficult to 

know exactly what Alfred meant by this. He appended rather than 

integrated the laws of Ine into his code, and although he included, as had iEthelbert, a scale of payments in 

compensation for injuries to various body parts, the two injury tariffs are not aligned. And, Offa is not known to have 

issued a law code, leading historian Patrick Wormald to speculate that Alfred had in mind the legatine capitulary of 

786 that was presented to Offa by two papal legates. 

Silver coin of Alfred 

About a fifth of the law code is taken up by Alfred's introduction, which includes translations into English of the 
Decalogue, a few chapters from the Book of Exodus, and the' Apostolic Letter' from Acts of the Apostles (15:23—29). 
The Introduction may best be understood as Alfred's meditation upon the meaning of Christian law. It traces the 
continuity between God's gift of Law to Moses to Alfred's own issuance of law to the West Saxon people. By doing 
so, it links the holy past to the historical present and represents Alfred's law-giving as a type of divine legislation. 

This is the reason that Alfred divided his code into precisely 120 chapters: 120 was the age at which Moses died and, 

in the number-symbolism of early medieval biblical exegetes, 120 stood for law. The link between the Mosaic 

Law and Alfred's code is the Apostolic Letter,' which explained that Christ "had come not to shatter or annul the 

commandments but to fulfill them; and he taught mercy and meekness" (Intro, 49.1). The mercy that Christ infused 

into Mosaic Law underlies the injury tariffs that figure so prominently in barbarian law codes, since Christian synods 

"established, through that mercy which Christ taught, that for almost every misdeed at the first offence secular lords 

might with their permission receive without sin the monetary compensation, which they then fixed." The only 

crime that could not be compensated with a payment of money is treachery to a lord, "since Almighty God adjudged 

none for those who despised Him, nor did Christ, the Son of God, adjudge any for the one who betrayed Him to 

death; and He commanded everyone to love his lord as Himself." Alfred's transformation of Christ's 

commandment from "Love your neighbour as yourself" (Matt. 22:39—40) to love your secular lord as you would love 

the Lord Christ himself underscores the importance that Alfred placed upon lordship, which he understood as a 

sacred bond instituted by God for the governance of man. 

When one turns from the domboc's introduction to the laws themselves, it is difficult to uncover any logical 
arrangement. The impression one receives is of a hodgepodge of miscellaneous laws. The law code, as it has been 
preserved, is singularly unsuitable for use in lawsuits. In fact, several of Alfred's laws contradict the laws of Ine that 
form an integral part of the code. Patrick Wormald's explanation is that Alfred's law code should be understood not 
as a legal manual, but as an ideological manifesto of kingship, "designed more for symbolic impact than for practical 
direction." In practical terms, the most important law in the code may well be the very first: "We enjoin, what is 
most necessary, that each man keep carefully his oath and his pledge," which expresses a fundamental tenet of 
Anglo-Saxon law. 

Alfred devoted considerable attention and thought to judicial matters. Asser underscores his concern for judicial 
fairness. Alfred, according to Asser, insisted upon reviewing contested judgments made by his ealdormen and 

Alfred the Great 91 

reeves, and "would carefully look into nearly all the judgements which were passed [issued] in his absence anywhere 

in the realm, to see whether they were just or unjust." A charter from the reign of his son Edward the Elder 

depicts Alfred as hearing one such appeal in his chamber, while washing his hands. Asser represents Alfred as a 

Solomonic judge, painstaking in his own judicial investigations and critical of royal officials who rendered unjust or 

unwise judgments. Although Asser never mentions Alfred's law code, he does say that Alfred insisted that his judges 

be literate, so that they could apply themselves "to the pursuit of wisdom." The failure to comply with this royal 

order was to be punished by loss of office. It is uncertain how seriously this should be taken; Asser was more 

concerned to represent Alfred as a wise ruler than to report actual royal policy. 

Foreign relations 


Asser speaks grandiosely of Alfred's relations with foreign powers, but little definite information is available. His 
interest in foreign countries is shown by the insertions which he made in his translation of Orosius. He certainly 


corresponded with Elias III, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and possibly sent a mission to India in honour of Saint 
Thomas the Apostle, whose tomb was believed to lie in that country. Contact was also made with the Caliph in 
Baghdad. Embassies to Rome conveying the English alms to the Pope were fairly frequent. Keynes & Lapidge 
1983, p. 14 Around 890, Wulfstan of Hedeby undertook a journey from Hedeby on Jutland along the Baltic Sea to 
the Prussian trading town of Truso. Alfred personally collected details of this trip. 

Alfred's relations with the Celtic princes in the western half of Britain are clearer. Comparatively early in his reign, 
according to Asser, the southern Welsh princes, owing to the pressure on them from North Wales and Mercia, 
commended themselves to Alfred. Later in the reign the North Welsh followed their example, and the latter 
cooperated with the English in the campaign of 893 (or 894). That Alfred sent alms to Irish and Continental 
monasteries may be taken on Asser's authority. The visit of the three pilgrim "Scots" (i.e. Irish) to Alfred in 891 is 
undoubtedly authentic. The story that he himself in his childhood was sent to Ireland to be healed by Saint 
Modwenna, though mythical, may show Alfred's interest in that island. 

Alfred the Great 


Religion and culture 

In the 880s, at the same time that he was "cajoling and threatening" his 
nobles to build and man the burhs, Alfred, perhaps inspired by the 

example of Charlemagne almost a century before, undertook an 

equally ambitious effort to revive learning. It entailed the recruitment 

of clerical scholars from Mercia, Wales and abroad to enhance the 

tenor of the court and of the episcopacy; the establishment of a court 

school to educate his own children, the sons of his nobles, and 

intellectually promising boys of lesser birth; an attempt to require 

literacy in those who held offices of authority; a series of translations 

into the vernacular of Latin works the king deemed "most necessary for 

all men to know"; the compilation of a chronicle detailing the rise of 

Alfred's kingdom and house; and the issuance of a law code that 

presented the West Saxons as a new people of Israel and their king as a 

just and divinely inspired law-giver. 

Very little is known of the church under Alfred. The Danish attacks 
had been particularly damaging to the monasteries, and though Alfred 
founded monasteries at Athelney and Shaftesbury, the first new 
monastic houses in Wessex since the beginning of the eighth 
century, and enticed foreign monks to England, monasticism did 
not revive significantly during his reign. Alfred undertook no 
systematic reform of ecclesiastical institutions or religious practices in 
Wessex. For him the key to the kingdom's spiritual revival was to appoint pious, learned, and trustworthy bishops 
and abbots. As king he saw himself as responsible for both the temporal and spiritual welfare of his subjects. Secular 
and spiritual authority were not distinct categories for Alfred. He was equally comfortable distributing his translation 
of Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care to his bishops so that they might better train and supervise priests, and using 
those same bishops as royal officials and judges. Nor did his piety prevent him from expropriating strategically sited 
church lands, especially estates along the border with the Danelaw, and transferring them to royal thegns and 

Historical mixed media figure of Alfred the Great 
produced by artist/historian George S. Stuart and 
photographed by Peter d'Aprix. This image, from 
the George S. Stuart Gallery of Historical Figures 

officials who could better defend them against Viking attacks 


The Danish raids had also a devastating impact on learning in England. Alfred lamented in the preface to his 
translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care that "learning had declined so thoroughly in England that there were very few 
men on this side of the Humber who could understand their divine services in English, or even translate a single 
letter from Latin into English: and I suppose that there were not many beyond the Humber either". Alfred 
undoubtedly exaggerated for dramatic effect the abysmal state of learning in England during his youth. That Latin 
learning had not been obliterated is evidenced by the presence in his court of learned Mercian and West Saxon 
clerics such as Plegmund, Waeferth, and Wulfsige, but Alfred's account should not be entirely discounted. 
Manuscript production in England dropped off precipitously around the 860s when the Viking invasions began in 
earnest, not to be revived until the end of the century. Numerous Anglo-Saxon manuscripts burnt up along with 
the churches that housed them. And a solemn diploma from Christ Church, Canterbury dated 873 is so poorly 
constructed and written that historian Nicholas Brooks posited a scribe who was either so blind he could not read 
what he wrote or who knew little or no Latin. "It is clear," Brooks concludes, "that the metropolitan church [of 
Canterbury] must have been quite unable to provide any effective training in the scriptures or in Christian 
worship." [68] 

Following the example of Charlemagne, Alfred established a court school for the education of his own children, 
those of the nobility, and "a good many of lesser birth". There they studied books in both English and Latin and 

Alfred the Great 93 

"devoted themselves to writing, to such an extent .... they were seen to be devoted and intelligent students of the 
liberal arts." He recruited scholars from the Continent and from Britain to aid in the revival of Christian learning 
in Wessex and to provide the king personal instruction. Grimbald and John the Saxon came from Francia; Plegmund 
(whom Alfred appointed archbishop of Canterbury in 890), Bishop Werferth of Worcester, ^Ethelstan, and the royal 
chaplains Werwulf, from Mercia; and Asser, from St. David's in south-western Wales. 

Alfred's educational ambitions seem to have extended beyond the establishment of a court school. Believing that 
without Christian wisdom there can be neither prosperity nor success in war, Alfred aimed "to set to learning (as 
long as they are not useful for some other employment) all the free-born young men now in England who have the 
means to apply themselves to it." Conscious of the decay of Latin literacy in his realm, Alfred proposed that 
primary education be taught in English, with those wishing to advance to holy orders to continue their studies in 
Latin. The problem, however, was that there were few "books of wisdom" written in English. Alfred sought to 
remedy this through an ambitious court-centred programme of translating into English the books he deemed "most 
necessary for all men to know." It is unknown when Alfred launched this programme, but it may have been 
during the 880s when Wessex was enjoying a respite from Viking attacks. 

Apart from the lost Handboc or Encheiridion, which seems to have been a commonplace book kept by the king, the 
earliest work to be translated was the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, a book greatly popular in the Middle Ages. 
The translation was undertaken at Alfred's command by Werferth, Bishop of Worcester, with the king merely 


furnishing a preface. Remarkably, Alfred, undoubtedly with the advice and aid of his court scholars, translated 
four works himself: Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, St. Augustine's 
Soliloquies, and the first fifty psalms of the Psalter. One might add to this list Alfred's translation, in his law code, of 
excerpts from the Vulgate Book of Exodus. The Old English versions of Orosius's Histories against the Pagans and 

Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People are no longer accepted by scholars as Alfred's own translations 

because of lexical and stylistic differences. Nonetheless, the consensus remains that they were part of the 

Alfredian programme of translation. Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge suggest this also for Bald's Leechbook and 

the anonymous Old English Marty rology. 

Alfred's first translation was of Pope Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, which he prefaced with an introduction 
explaining why he thought it necessary to translate works such as this one from Latin into English. Although he 
described his method as translating "sometimes word for word, sometimes sense for sense," Alfred's translation 
actually keeps very close to his original, although through his choice of language he blurred throughout the 
distinction between spiritual and secular authority. Alfred meant his translation to be used and circulated it to all his 

Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy was the most popular philosophical handbook of the Middle Ages. Unlike his 

translation of the Pastoral Care, Alfred here deals very freely with his original and though the late Dr. G Schepss 

showed that many of the additions to the text are to be traced not to Alfred himself, but to the glosses and 

commentaries which he used, still there is much in the work which is solely Alfred's and highly characteristic of his 

style. It is in the Boethius that the oft-quoted sentence occurs: "My will was to live worthily as long as I lived, and 

after my life to leave to them that should come after, my memory in good works." The book has come down to us in 

T741 T751 

two manuscripts only. In one of these the writing is prose, in the other a combination of prose and alliterating 

verse. The latter manuscript was severely damaged in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the authorship of the verse 

has been much disputed; but likely it also is by Alfred. In fact, he writes in the prelude that he first created a prose 

work and then used it as the basis for his poem Metres of Boethius, his crowning literary achievement. He spent a 

great deal of time working on these books, which he tells us he gradually wrote through the many stressful times of 

his reign to refresh his mind. Of the authenticity of the work as a whole there has never been any doubt. 

The last of Alfred's works is one to which he gave the name Blostman, i.e., "Blooms" or Anthology. The first half is 
based mainly on the Soliloquies of St Augustine of Hippo, the remainder is drawn from various sources, and contains 
much that is Alfred's own and highly characteristic of him. The last words of it may be quoted; they form a fitting 

Alfred the Great 


epitaph for the noblest of English kings. "Therefore he seems to me a very foolish man, and truly wretched, who will 
not increase his understanding while he is in the world, and ever wish and long to reach that endless life where all 
shall be made clear." 

Alfred appears as a character in the twelfth- or thirteenth-century poem The Owl and the Nightingale, where his 
wisdom and skill with proverbs is praised. The Proverbs of Alfred, a thirteenth-century work, contains sayings that 
are not likely to have originated with Alfred but attest to his posthumous medieval reputation for wisdom. 

The Alfred jewel, discovered in Somerset in 1693, has long been 
associated with King Alfred because of its Old English inscription 
"AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN" {Alfred ordered me to be 
made). The jewel is about 2Vi inches (6.1 cm) long, made of filigreed 
gold, enclosing a highly polished piece of quartz crystal beneath which 
is set a cloisonne enamel plaque, with an enamelled image of a man 

holding floriate sceptres, perhaps personifying Sight or the Wisdom of 

God. It was at one time attached to a thin rod or stick based on the 

hollow socket at its base. The jewel certainly dates from Alfred's reign. 

Although its function is unknown, it has been often suggested that the 

jewel was one of the aistels — pointers for reading — that Alfred ordered 

sent to every bishopric accompanying a copy of his translation of the 

Pastoral Care. Each xstel was worth the princely sum of 50 mancuses, 

which fits in well with the quality workmanship and expensive 

materials of the Alfred jewel. 

Historian Richard Abels sees Alfred's educational and military reforms 
as complementary. Restoring religion and learning in Wessex, Abels 
contends, was to Alfred's mind as essential to the defence of his realm 


as the building of the burhs. As Alfred observed in the preface to 
his English translation of Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, kings 
who fail to obey their divine duty to promote learning can expect 
earthly punishments to befall their people. The pursuit of wisdom, 
he assured his readers of the Boethius, was the surest path to power: "Study Wisdom, then, and, when you have 
learned it, condemn it not, for I tell you that by its means you may without fail attain to power, yea, even though not 
desiring it". The portrayal of the West-Saxon resistance to the Vikings by Asser and the chronicler as a Christian 
holy war was more than mere rhetoric or 'propaganda'. It reflected Alfred's own belief in a doctrine of divine rewards 
and punishments rooted in a vision of a hierarchical Christian world order in which God is the Lord to whom kings 
owe obedience and through whom they derive their authority over their followers. The need to persuade his nobles to 
undertake work for the 'common good' led Alfred and his court scholars to strengthen and deepen the conception of 
Christian kingship that he had inherited by building upon the legacy of earlier kings such as Offa as well as clerical 
writers such as Bede, Alcuin and the other luminaries of the Carolingian renaissance. This was not a cynical use of 
religion to manipulate his subjects into obedience, but an intrinsic element in Alfred's worldview. He believed, as did 
other kings in ninth-century England and Francia, that God had entrusted him with the spiritual as well as physical 
welfare of his people. If the Christian faith fell into ruin in his kingdom, if the clergy were too ignorant to understand 
the Latin words they butchered in their offices and liturgies, if the ancient monasteries and collegiate churches lay 
deserted out of indifference, he was answerable before God, as Josiah had been. Alfred's ultimate responsibility was 
the pastoral care of his people. 

Alfred the Great 



In 868, Alfred married Ealhswith, daughter of a Mercian nobleman, jEthelred Mucil, Ealdorman of the Gaini. The 
Gaini were probably one of the tribal groups of the Mercians. Ealhswith's mother, Eadburh, was a member of the 


Mercian royal family. 

They had five or six children together, including Edward the Elder, who succeeded his father as king, ^Ethelflsed, 
who would become Queen of Mercia in her own right, and jElfthryth who married Baldwin II the Count of Flanders. 
His mother was Osburga daughter of Oslac of the Isle of Wight, Chief Butler of England. Asser, in his Vita ALlfredi 
asserts that this shows his lineage from the Jutes of the Isle of Wight. This is unlikely as Bede tells us that they were 
all slaughtered by the Saxons under Caedwalla. In 2008 the skeleton of Queen Eadgyth, granddaughter of Alfred the 
Great was found in Magdeburg Cathedral in Germany. It was confirmed in 2010 that these remains belong to her — 
one of the earliest members of the English royal family 








Married 889, ^thelred, Ealdorman of Mercia d 910; 

had issue 



17 July 924 

Married (1) Ecgwynn, (2) ^lfflaed, (3) 919 Eadgifu 


Abbess of Shaftesbury 


16 October 922(?) 

Married and had issue 



Married Baldwin II; had issue 

Death, burial and legacy 

Alfred died on 26 October 899. How he died is unknown, although he suffered throughout his life with a painful and 


unpleasant illness — possibly Crohn's disease, which seems to have been inherited by his grandson King Edred. 
He was originally buried temporarily in the Old Minster in Winchester, then moved to the New Minster (perhaps 
built especially to receive his body). When the New Minster moved to Hyde, a little north of the city, in 1110, the 
monks transferred to Hyde Abbey along with Alfred's body and those of his wife and children. Soon after the 
dissolution of the abbey in 1539, during the reign of Henry VIII, the church was demolished, leaving the graves 
intact. The royal graves and many others were probably rediscovered by chance in 1788 when a prison was being 
constructed by convicts on the site. Coffins were stripped of lead, bones were scattered and lost, and no identifiable 
remains of Alfred have subsequently been found. Further excavations in 1866 and 1897 were inconclusive. 

He is regarded as a saint by some Catholics, but an attempt by king Henry VI in 1441 to get him canonized was 

T871 T881 - - T891 

unsuccessful. The Anglican Communion venerates him as a Christian hero, with a feast day of 26 October, 

and he may often be found depicted in stained glass in Church of England parish churches. 

A number of educational establishments are named in Alfred's honour. These include: 

• The University of Winchester was named 'King Alfred's College, Winchester' between 1928 and 2004, 
whereupon it was renamed "University College Winchester". 

• Alfred University and Alfred State College located in Alfred, NY, are both named after the king. 

• In honour of Alfred, the University of Liverpool created a King Alfred Chair of English Literature. 

• King Alfred's Community and Sports College, a secondary school in Wantage, Oxfordshire, the birthplace of 

• King's Lodge School, in Chippenham, Wiltshire is so named because King Alfred's hunting lodge is reputed to 
have stood on or near the site of the school. 

• The King Alfred School & Specialist Sports Academy, Burnham Road, Highbridge is so named due to its rough 
proximity to Brent Knoll (a Beacon site) and Athelney. 

• The King Alfred School in Barnet, North London, UK. 

Alfred the Great 

• King Alfred's Middle School, Shaftesbury, Dorset [Now defunct after reorganisation] 

• King's College, Taunton, Somerset. (The king in question is King Alfred). 

• Saxonwold Primary School in Gauteng, South Africa names one of its houses after King Alfred. The others being 
Bede, Caedmon, and Dunston. 

The Royal Navy has named one ship and two shore establishments HMS King Alfred. 

Wantage statue 

A statue of Alfred the Great, situated in the Wantage market place, was sculpted 
by Count Gleichen, a relative of Queen Victoria's, and unveiled on 14 July 1877 
by the Prince and Princess of Wales. 

The statue was vandalised on New Year's Eve 2007, losing part of its right arm 
and axe. After the arm and axe were replaced the statue was again vandalised on 
Christmas Eve 2008, once more losing its axe. 


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain from 
the entry "jElfred" in: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical 
Dictionary of English Literature. London, J. M. Dent & Sons; New York, E. P. 

Statue of Alfred the Great at 

[1] Yorke, Alfred 

[2] Cnut the Great, who ruled England from 1016 to 1035, was Danish. 

[3] Alfred was the youngest of either four (Weir, Alison, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete 

Genealogy (1989), p. 5) or five brothers, ( 

TheAnglo-Saxonkings/AlfredtheGreat.aspx) the primary record conflicting regarding whether ^Ethelstan of Wessex was a brother or uncle. 
[4] The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ( Freely licensed version at Gutenberg Project. Note: This 

electronic edition is a collation of material from nine diverse extant versions of the Chronicle. It contains primarily the translation of Rev. 

James Ingram, as published in the Everyman edition. 
[5] Wormald2004 

[6] Crofton, Ian (2006). The Kings & Queens of England. Quercus Publishing, p. 8. ISBN 13:978 1 84724 628 8. 
[7] Cornwell, Bernard (2009), "Historical Note" (p. 385 and following), in "The Burning Land" (Harper) 
[8] Plummerl911 
[9] Abels 1998, pp. 140-141 
[10] Brooks, N.P. and J. A. Graham-Campbell, "Reflections on the Viking-age silver hoard from Croydon, Surrey", in Anglo-Saxon Monetary 

History: Essays in Memory of Michael Dolley (1986), pp. 91-110. 
[11] "History of the Monarchy — The Anglo-Saxon kings — Alfred 'The Great'" ( 

KingsandQueensofEngland/TheAnglo-Saxonkings/AlfredtheGreat.aspx). 2011-11-11. . Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
[12] Savage 1988 p. 101. 
[13] Horspool. Why Alfred Burnt the Cakes, p. 173. The inscription reads ALFRED THE GREAT AD 879 on this Summit Erected his Standard 

Against Danish Invaders To him We owe The Origin of Juries The Establishment of a Militia The Creation of a Naval Force ALFRED The 

Light of a Benighted Age Was a Philosopher and a Christian The Father of his People The Founder of the English MONARCHY and 

[14] Abels 1998, p. 163 
[15] Blackburn, M.A.S. Blackburn, "The London mint in the reign of Alfred", in Kings, currency, and alliances : history and coinage of southern 

England in the ninth century, ed. M.A.S. Blackburn and D.N. Dumville (1998), pp. 105-24. 
[16] Pratt 2007 p. 94. 
[17] Asser 1983 p. 86. 
[18] Alfred 1969 p. 76. 
[19] Asser 1969 p. 78. 
[20] Asser 1983 p. 88. 
[21] Asser 1983 p. 87. 
[22] Huntingdon 1969 p. 81. 

Alfred the Great 








Woodruff 1993 p. 86. 

Keynes 1998 p. 24. 

Keynes 1998 p. 23. 

Pratt 2007 p. 106. 

Asser 1969 p. 114. 

Woodruff 1993 p. 89. 

Abels 1998 

Abels 1998 

Abels 1998 

Pratt 2007 

Hull 2006 

Abels 1998 

Abels 1998 

Bradshaw 1999, which is referenced in Hull 2006 

Abels 1998 

Abels 1988 

Abel 1998 

Asser, translated by Keynes & Lapidge 1983 

Abels 1998 

Abels 1998 

Many of Alfred's civil and military endeavors are documented in Charles Plummer's The Life and Times of Alfred the Great, especially in 
Lecture IV. 

Abels 1998, pp. 199-207 

Savage 1988 p. 111. 

Savage 1988 pp. 86-88. 

Savage 1988 p. 97. 

Abels 1998, pp. 305—307 Cf. the much more positive view of the capabilities of these ships in Gifford & Gifford 2003 pp. 281—89 

Alfred, Int. 49.9, trans. Keynes & Lapidge 1983 p. 164. 

Wormald 2001, pp. 280-1 

Pratt 2007 p. 215. 

Abels 1998, p. 248 

Wormald 2001, p. 417 

Alfred, Intro, 49.7, trans. Keynes & Lapidge 1983 pp. 164-5 

Abels 1998, p. 250 cites Alfred's Pastoral Care, ch. 28 

Wormald 2001, p. 427 

Alfred, 2, in Keynes & Lapidge 1983 p. 164. 

Asser, chap. 106, in Keynes & Lapidge 1983 p. 109 

The charter is Sawyer 1445, and is printed in English Historical Documents, vol. 1, ed. Dorothy Whitelock, 2nd edn (1979), pp. 544—6. 

Asser, chap. 106, in Keynes & Lapidge 1983 pp. 109—10. 

Medlycott 1905, p. 80 

Reinhold 1857, p. 146 

A literal translation of King Alfred's Anglo-Saxon version of the ... - Paulus Orosius, Robert Thomas Hampson ( 
books ?id=GhNAAAAAYAAJ&dq=alfred orosius&pg=PA16#v=onepage&q=wulfstan&f=false). . Retrieved 

Yorke, Barbara, Wessex in the Early Middle Age.v(1995), p. 201 

Fleming 1985 

Keynes & Lapidge 1983 p. 125. 

Dumville, David, Wessex and England from Alfred to Edgar: Six Essays on Political, Cultural, and Ecclesiastical Revival (1992), p. 190. 

Brooks, Nicholas, The Early History of the Church of Canterbury: Christ Church from 597 to 1066 (1984), pp. 172—3. 

Asser, chap. 75, in Keynes & Lapidge 1983 pp. 99—1. Cf. Codicology of the court school of Charlemagne: Gospel book production, 
illumination, and emphasised script (European university studies. Series 28, History of art) 

Preface to Alfred's translation of Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, in Keynes & Lapidge 1983 p. 126. 

Bately, Janet, "King Alfred and the Old English Translation of Orosius", Anglia 88 (1970): 433—60; idem, "Those books that are most 
necessary for all men to know'. The Classics and late ninth-century England: a reappraisal", in The Classics in the Middle Ages, ed. Aldo S. 
Bernardo and Saul Levin (1990), pp. 45-78, 

Keynes & Lapidge 1983 pp. 33^4. 

Dr. G. Schepss, "Zu Konig Alfreds Boethius" in Archiv fiir das Studium der neueren Sprachen, xciv (1895), pp. 149—160 

Oxford Bodleian Library MS Bodley 180 

British Library Cotton MS Otho A. vi 

Alfred the Great 

[76] Kiernan, Kevin S., " Alfred the Great's Burnt Boethius (". In Bornstein, George and 

Theresa Tinkle, eds., The Iconic Page in Manuscript, Print, and Digital Culture (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998). 
[77] Pratt 2007 pp. 189-91. 
[78] Abels 1998, pp. 219-257 
[79] Keynes & Lapidge 1983 pp. 124-5. 

[80] Sedgefield, W.J., King Alfred's Version of the Consolations of Boethius. Done into Modern English (1900), p. 35. 
[81] Keynes & Lapidge 1983 pp. 77, 240-241 

[82] Bones confirmed as those of Saxon Princess Eadgyth ( 
[83] Craig, G (May 1991). "Alfred the Great: a diagnosis". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 84 (5): 303-305. PMC 1293232. 

PMID 1819247. 
[84] Summary of Hyde Community Archaeology Project (http://www. Winchester. asp ?id=SX9452-A781BCE7) Study by 

Winchester Museums Service, completed in 1999 
[85] Dodson, Aidan (2004). The Royal Tombs of Great Britain. London: Duckworth. 
[86] St. Alfred the Great, Catholic Online (http://www. catholic. org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1262) 
[87] Foot, .Ethelstan, p. 231 
[88] Some Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that Alfred should be recognised as a saint. See Case for ( 

athlifea.htm) and Case against ( 
[89] Gross 1990 
[90] "Wantage Herald Article" ( 1936676. 0.statue_damage_quiz_man_bailed.php). . 


• Abels, Richard P. (1988). Lordship and Military Obligation in Anglo-Saxon England. British Museum Press, 
pp. 58-78. ISBN 978-0714105529. 

• Abels, Richard (1998). Alfred the Great: War, Kingship and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England. Longman. 
ISBN 9780582040472. 

• Alfred (1969), "Saxon Chronicles", in J. A. Giles, Memorials of King Alfred: being essays on the history and 
antiquities of England during the ninth century, the age of King Alfred, by various authors, Burt Franklin research 
& source works series, New York: Burt Franklin 

• Asser (1969), "Life of King Alfred", in J. A. Giles, Memorials of King Alfred: being essays on the history and 
antiquities of England during the ninth century, the age of King Alfred, by various authors, Burt Franklin research 
& source works series, New York: Burt Franklin 

• Asser (1983), "Life of King Alfred", in Keynes, Simon; Lapidge, Michael, Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King 
Alfred & Other Contemporary Sources, Penguin Classics, pp. 67—1 12 

• Bradshaw, Anthony (1999), The Burghal Hidage: Alfred's Towns ( 

• Fleming, Robin (1985). Monastic lands and England's defence in the Viking Age. 100. English Historical Review, 
pp. 247-65. 

• Foot, Sarah (201 1). ALthelstan: The First King of England. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 
ISBN 978-0-300-12535-1. 

• Gifford, Edwin; Gifford, Joyce (2003). "Alfred's new longships". In Reuter, Timothy. Alfred the Great (Studies in 
early medieval Britain), pp. 281-89. ISBN 9780754609575. 

• Gross, Ernie (1990). This Day In Religion. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.. ISBN 978-1555700454. 

• Hull, Lise E. (2006). Britain's Medieval Castles. Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 9780275984144. 

• Huntingdon, Henry (1969), "Histories", in J. A. Giles, Memorials of King Alfred: being essays on the history and 
antiquities of England during the ninth century, the age of King Alfred, by various authors, Burt Franklin research 
& source works series, New York: Burt Franklin 

• Keynes, Simon; Lapidge, Michael (1983). Alfred the Great, Asser's Life of King Alfred and other contemporary 
sources. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, pp. 7—65. ISBN 0-14-044409-2. 

• Keynes, Simon (1998), "Alfred and the Mercians", in Blackburn, Mark A.S.; Dumville, David N, Kings, 
currency, and alliances: history and coinage of southern England in the ninth century, Woodbridge: Boydell & 
Brewer, pp. 1-46, ISBN 9780851155982 

Alfred the Great 99 

Keynes, Simon (2001), "Edward, King of the Anglo-Saxons", in Higham, N.J.; Hill, D.H., Edward the Elder 

899-924, Routledge, pp. 44-45, ISBN 978-0415214971 

Medlycott, Adolphus (1905). India and the Apostle Thomas: an inquiry ( 

books?id=YdxJAAAAMAAJ&vq=alfred&pg=PA80). London: David Nutt. p. 80. 

Pauli, Reinhold (1857), "Alfred's embassies" (http://books. google. com/books ?id=-iILAAAAYAAJ&q=146), 

in Thorpe, Benjamin, The life of Alfred the Great, London: Henry Bohn, p. 146 

Pratt, David (2007). The political thought of King Alfred the Great. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and 

Thought: Fourth Series. 67. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521803502. 

Savage, Anne (1988). Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. Papermac. p. 288. ISBN 0333488814. 

Snyder, Christopher A., ed. (2008). The Early Peoples of Britain and Ireland. ABC-CLIO. p. 23. 

ISBN 9781846450099. 

Vince, Alan (1990). Saxon London: An Archaeological Investigation. The Archaeology of London series. 

Batsford Ltd.. ISBN 978-1852640194. 

Woodruff, Douglas (1993). The Life And Times of Alfred the Great. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. 

ISBN 9780297831945. 

Wormald, Patrick (2001). The Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century, p. 528. 

ISBN 9780631227403. 

Wormald, Patrick (2004), "Alfred (848/9-899)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University 

Press, ISBN 978-01986141 1 1 

Yorke, B. A. E. (2001), "Alfred, king of Wessex (871-899)", in Michael Lapidge et al, The Blackwell 

Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Blackwell Publishing, pp. 27—28, ISBN 978-0-6311-5565-2 


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Plummer, Charles (1911). "Alfred the 
Great". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Further reading 

• Frantzen, Allen J., King Alfred the Great (Twayne's English Authors Series), 9780805769180 

• Fry, Fred: Patterns of Power: The Military Campaigns of Alfred the Great, 2006, ISBN 9781905226931 

• Giles, J. A. (ed.): The Whole Works of King Alfred the Great (Jubilee Edition, 3 vols, Oxford and Cambridge, 

• Merkle, Benjamin: The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great (Thomas Nelson, 2009), ISBN 

• Parker, Joanne: England's Darling The Victorian Cult of Alfred the Great, 2007, ISBN 97807 19073564 

• Pollard, Justin: Alfred the Great : the man who made England, 2006, ISBN 0719566665 

• Reuter, Timothy (ed.), Alfred the Great (Studies in early medieval Britain), 2003, ISBN 9780754609575 

• The whole works of King Alfred the Great, with preliminary essays, illustrative of the history, arts, and manners, 
of the ninth century, 1969, OCLC 28387 

Alfred the Great 100 

External links 

• Alfred the Great at ( 

• Lays of Boethius 

• Orosius (c. 417). Alfred the Great; Barrington, Dairies, eds. The Anglo-Saxon Version, from the Historian Orosius 
(http://books. google. com/?id=aTOJAAAAQAAJ). London: Printed by W. Bowyer and J. Nichols and sold by 

S. Baker. 1773. 

Antiochus III the Great 


Antiochus III the Great 

Antiochus III the Great 

Br "' 1 

m A 

Wit:- - ifl 

Bust of Antiochus III the Great from the Louvre 

Megas Basileus of the Seleucid Empire 


223 BC - 187 BC 

(36 years) 


Seleucus III Ceraunus 


Seleucus IV Philopator 


Princess Laodice of 


Euboea of Chalcis 



Seleucus IV Philopator 


unnamed daughter 

Laodice IV, Queen of the Seleucid Empire 

Cleopatra I Syra, Queen of Egypt 

Antiochis, Queen of Cappadocia 

Antiochus IV Epiphanes 

Full name 

Antiochos Megas 
Avtloxoi; Meyc^ 
("Antiochus the Great") 


Seleucus II Callinicus 


Laodice n 


241 BC 

Babylon, Mesopotamia 


187 BC (aged 54) 
Susa, Elymais 

Antiochus III the Great (Greek: Avtloxck; Msyai;} }; c. 241 - 187 BC, ruled 222 - 187 BC) was the sixth ruler of 
the Seleucid Empire, ruling over Greater Syria and western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC. 

Rising to the throne at the age of eighteen in 223 BC, his early campaigns against the Ptolemaic Kingdom were 
unsuccessful, but in the following years Antiochus gained several military victories. His traditional designation, the 
Great, reflects an epithet he briefly assumed. He also assumed the title "Basileus Megas" (which is Greek for "Great 

Antiochus III the Great 


King"), the traditional title of the Persian kings. 

Declaring himself the "champion of Greek freedom against Roman domination", Antiochus III waged a war against 
the Roman Republic in mainland Greece in autumn of 192 BC only to be defeated. 

Background and early career 

Seleucid Kingdom at the time of Antiochus's 
accession to the throne. 

Antiochus III was a member of the Greek-Macedonian Seleucid 
dynasty. He was the son of king Seleucus II and Laodice II 

and was born in 242 BC near Susa in Iran. Antiochus succeeded his 
brother Seleucus III as the king of the Seleucid Empire. 

Antiochus III inherited a disorganized state. Not only had Asia Minor 
become detached, but the easternmost provinces had broken away, 
Bactria under the Greek Diodotus of Bactria, and Parthia under the 
nomad chieftain Arsaces. Soon after Antiochus's accession, Media and 
Persis revolted under their governors, the brothers Molon and 

The young king, under the baneful influence of the minister Hermeias, authorised an attack on Ptolemaic Syria 
instead of going in person to face the rebels. The attack against Egypt of the Ptolemies proved a fiasco, and the 
generals sent against Molon and Alexander met with disaster. Only in Asia Minor, where the king's cousin, the able 
Achaeus, represented the Seleucid cause, did its prestige recover, driving the Pergamene power back to its earlier 

In 221 BC Antiochus at last went east, and the rebellion of Molon and Alexander collapsed which Polybios attributes 
in part to his following the advice of Zeuxis rather than Hermeias. The submission of Lesser Media, which had 
asserted its independence under Artabazanes, followed. Antiochus rid himself of Hermeias by assassination and 
returned to Syria (220 BC). Meanwhile Achaeus himself had revolted and assumed the title of king in Asia Minor. 
Since, however, his power was not well enough grounded to allow an attack on Syria, Antiochus considered that he 
might leave Achaeus for the present and renew his attempt on Ptolemaic Syria. 

Early wars against other Hellenistic rulers 

Seleucid Empire after the wars of expansion 

The campaigns of 219 BC and 218 BC carried the Seleucid armies 
almost to the confines of Ptolemaic Kingdom, but in 217 BC Ptolemy 
IV defeated Antiochus at the Battle of Raphia. This defeat nullified all 
Antiochus's successes and compelled him to withdraw north of the 

In 216 BC Antiochus' army marched into western Anatolia to suppress 
the local rebellion led by Antiochus' own cousin Achaeus, and had by 
214 BC driven him from the field into Sardis. Capturing Achaeus, 
Antiochus had him executed. The citadel managed to hold out until 
213 BC under Achaeus' widow Laodice who surrendered later. 

Having thus recovered the central part of Asia Minor (for the Seleucid government had perforce to tolerate the 
dynasties in Pergamon, Bithynia and Cappadocia) Antiochus turned to recovering the outlying provinces of the north 
and east. He obliged Xerxes of Armenia to acknowledge his supremacy in 212 BC. In 209 BC Antiochus invaded 
Parthia, occupied the capital Hecatompylus and pushed forward into Hyrcania. The Parthian king Arsaces II 
apparently successfully sued for peace. 

Antiochus III the Great 


Bactrian campaign and Indian expedition 

Year 209 BC saw Antiochus in Bactria, where the Greco-Bactrian king 
Euthydemus I had supplanted the original rebel. Antiochus again met 


with success. He was defeated by Antiochus at the Battle of the 
Arius but after sustaining a famous siege in his capital Bactra (Balkh), 
Euthydemus obtained an honourable peace by which Antiochus 
promised Euthydemus' son Demetrius the hand of one of his 


Antiochus next, following in the steps of Alexander, crossed into the 
Kabul valley, reaching the realm of Indian king Sophagasenus and 
returned west by way of Seistan and Kerman (206/5). According to 

"He crossed the Caucasus (Hindu Kush) and descended into 

India; renewed his friendship with Sophagasenus (Subhashsena 

in Prakrit) the king of the Indians; received more elephants, until he had a hundred and fifty altogether; and 

having once more provisioned his troops, set out again personally with his army: leaving Androsthenes of 

Cyzicus the duty of taking home the treasure which this king had agreed to hand over to him 


Persia and Coele Syria campaigns 

From Seleucia on the Tigris he led a short expedition down the Persian Gulf against the Gerrhaeans of the Arabian 
coast (205 BC/204 BC). Antiochus seemed to have restored the Seleucid empire in the east, which earned him the 
title of "the Great" (Antiochos Megas). In 205/204 BC the infant Ptolemy V Epiphanes succeeded to the Egyptian 
throne, and Antiochus is said (notably by Polybios) to have concluded a secret pact with Philip V of Macedon for the 
partition of the Ptolemaic possessions. Under the terms of this pact, Macedon were to receive Egypt's possessions 
around the Aegean Sea and Cyrene, while Antiochus would annex Cyprus and Egypt. 

Once more Antiochus attacked the Ptolemaic province of Coele Syria and Phoenicia, and by 199 BC he seems to 
have had possession of it before the Aetolian, Scopas, recovered it for Ptolemy. But that recovery proved brief, for in 
198 BC Antiochus defeated Scopas at the Battle of Panium, near the sources of the Jordan, a battle which marks the 
end of Ptolemaic rule in Judea. 

War against Rome and death 

Antiochus then moved to Asia Minor, by land and by sea, to secure the coast towns which belonged to the remnants 
of Ptolemaic overseas dominions and the independent Greek cities. This enterprise earned him the antagonism of the 
Roman Republic, since Smyrna and Lampsacus appealed to the republic of the west, and the tension grew after 
Antiochus had in 196 BC established a footing in Thrace. The evacuation of Greece by the Romans gave Antiochus 
his opportunity, and he now had the fugitive Hannibal at his court to urge him on. 

In 192 BC Antiochus invaded Greece with a 10,000 man army, and was elected the commander in chief of the 


Aetolian League. In 191 BC, however, the Romans under Manius Acilius Glabrio routed him at Thermopylae, 
forcing him to withdraw to Asia Minor. The Romans followed up their success by invading Anatolia, and the 
decisive victory of Scipio Asiaticus at Magnesia ad Sipylum (190 BC), following the defeat of Hannibal at sea off 
Side, delivered Asia Minor into their hands. 

By the Treaty of Apamea (188 BC) the Seleucid king abandoned all the country north of the Taurus, which the 
Roman Republic distributed amongst its local allies. As a consequence of this blow to the Seleucid power, the 
outlying provinces of the empire, recovered by Antiochus, reasserted their independence. Antiochus mounted a fresh 

eastern expedition in Luristan, where he died while pillaging a temple of Bel at Elymai's, Persia, in 187 BC 


Antiochus III the Great 



Coin of Antiochus the Great. The Greek inscription reads BAEIAEfiE 
ANTIOXOT, King Antiochus. 

In 222 BC, Antiochus III married Princess Laodice 
of Pontus, a daughter of King Mithridates II of 
Pontus and Princess Laodice of the Seleucid 
Empire. The couple were first cousins through 
their mutual grandfather, Antiochus II Theos. 
Antiochus and Laodice had eight children (three 
sons and five daughters): 

• Antiochus (221 - 193 BC), Antiochus Ill's first 
heir apparent and joint -king with his father from 
210- 193 BC 

• Seleucus IV Philopator (c. 220 - 175 BC), Antiochus Ill's successor 

• Ardys 

• unnamed daughter, betrothed in about 206 BC to Demetrius I of Bactria 

• Laodice IV, married all three of her brothers in succession and became Queen of the Seleucid Empire through her 
second and third marriages 

• Cleopatra I Syra (c. 204 - 176 BC), married in 193 BC Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt 

• Antiochis, married in 194 BC King Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia 

• Mithridates (215 - 164 BC), succeeded his brother Seleucus IV Philopator in 175 BC under the regnal name 
Antiochus IV Epiphanes 

Laodice III died in about 191 BC. Later that year, Antiochus III remarried to Euboea of Chalcis. They had no 
children. [15] 

Antiochus and the Jews 

Antiochus III resettled 2000 Jewish families from Babylonia into the Hellenistic Anatolian regions of Lydia and 
Phrygia. He is not the king who oppressed Judea and was resisted by the Maccabees in the Jewish story of 
Hanukkah; rather, that was his son, Antiochus IV. On the contrary, Josephus portrays him as friendly towards the 
Jews and cognizant of their loyalty to him (see Antiquities, chapter 3, sections 3-4), in stark contrast to the attitude of 
his son. In fact, Antiochus III lowered taxes and let the Jews live, as Josephus puts it, "according to the law of their 

Cultural portrayals 

The Caroline era play Believe as You List is centered around Antiochus resistance to the Romans after the Battle of 
Thermopylae. The play was originally about Sebastian of Portugal surviving the Battle of Alcazar and returning, 
trying to gather support to return to the throne. This first version was censored for being considered "subversive" 
because it portrayed Sebastian being deposed, its comments in favor of an Anglo-Spanish alliance and possible 
pro-Catholicism, which led to the final version changing to the story of Antiochus (which led to historical inaccuracy 
in exaggerating his defeat at that phase in history to fit the earlier text), turning Spaniards into Romans and the 
Catholic eremite into a stoic philosopher. 

Antiochus III the Great 105 


[I] Davies, Philip R. (2002). Second Temple studies III: studies in politics, class, and material culture. Continuum International Publishing 
Group, p. 95. ISBN 9780826460301. "The difference is that from the perspective of Antiochus III, the Greek king of a Greek empire, or from 
the later point of view of a head of state communicating with a Greek city-state" 

[2] Garg, Gaiiga Ram (1992). Encyclopaedia of the Hindu world, Volume 2. Concept Publishing Company, p. 510. ISBN 9788170223757. 

"Antiochus III the Great. Greek king who ruled over Syria and western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC. It was during his time that 

Bactria became independent under Euthydemos. Shortly afterwards Antiochus III crossed the Hindu Kusa and attacked an Indian prince 

named Subhagasena (Sophagasenas of the classical writers) who ruled over the Kabul valley. Antiochus III defeated Subhagasena, extorted 

from him a large cash indemnity and many elephants before he went back to his country. This invasion produced no permanent effect." 
[3] Jones, Peter V.; Sidwell, Keith C. (1997). The World of Rome: An Introduction to Roman Culture. Cambridge University Press, p. 20. 

ISBN 9780521386005. "Antiochus III, the Greek king of Syria (the dynasty there was called 'Seleucid'), was busily expanding in Asia Minor 

and in 196 BC even crossed into Europe to annex part of Thrace." 
[4] Whitehorne, John Edwin George (1994). Cleopatras. Routledge. p. 84. ISBN 9780415058063. " the autumn of 192 BC they heard that 

Antiochus III had crossed over to Greece with his army and declared himself the champion of Greek freedom against Roman domination." 
[5] Wilson. Nigel Guy (2006). Encyclopedia of ancient Greece. Routledge. p. 58. ISBN 9780415973342. "ANTIOCHUS III THE GREAT 

c242-187 BC Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great was the sixth king (223-187 BC) . . . Antiochus landed on the mainland of Greece posing 

as a champion of Greek freedom against the Romans (192 BC)." 
[6] Bertman, Stephen (2003). Handbook to life in ancient Mesopotamia. Infobase Publishing, p. 76. ISBN 0816043469, 9780816043460. 

"Antiochus III (222—187 BCE) A member of the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty" 
[7] Zion, Noam ; Spectre, Barbara (2000). A Different Light: The Big Book ofHanukkah. Devora Publishing, p. 57. ISBN 1930143370, 

9781930143371. "Antiochus III, the Greek Seleucid Dynasty of Greater Syria captures Judea. 172 or 171-163" 
[8] Baskin, Judith R. ; Seeskin, Kenneth (2010). The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture. Cambridge University Press. 

p. 37. ISBN 0521689740, 9780521689748. "The wars between the two most prominent Greek dynasties, the Ptolemies of Egypt and the 

Seleucids of Syria, unalterably change the history of the land of Israel. . . As a result the land of Israel became part of the empire of the Syrian 

Greek Seleucids." 
[9] Glubb, Sir John Bagot (1967). Syria, Lebanon, Jordan. Thames & Hudson, p. 34. OCLC 585939. "Although the Ptolemies and the Seleucids 

were perpetual rivals, both dynasties were Greek and ruled by means of Greek officials and Greek soldiers. Both governments made great 

efforts to attract immigrants from Greece, thereby adding yet another racial element to the population. " 
[10] Jonsson, David J. (2005). The Clash of Ideologies. Xulon Press, p. 566. ISBN 1597810398, 9781597810395. "Antiochus III was born in 242 

BC, the son of Seleucus II, near Susa, Iran." 

[II] http://penelope.uchicago.edU/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Polybius/5*. html#51 Polybius Hist 5.51 

[12] Polybius 10.49, Antiochus Engages the Bactrians (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text: 1999.01. 
0234:book= 1 0: chapter=49) 

[13] Polybius 1 1.34, Antiochus Moves from Bactria Through Interior Asia (http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plb.+l 1.34) 

[14] Bringmann, Klaus (2007). A history of the Roman republic. Polity, p. 91. ISBN 0745633714, 9780745633718. "The Aetolians called on 
Antiochus the 'liberate' Greece and to act as arbitrator between them and the Romans. Thereupon the king landed in Demetrias in the late 
autumn of 192 with a small army, and the Aetolian assembly elected him supreme strategos. His attempt to gather together al those who were 
dissatisfied with the peace agreement of 196 under the banner of Greek freedom had some success but proved a failure overall." 


[16] Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Amsterdam University Press. 2000. p. 61. ISBN 9053565035, 9789053565032. "Jewish settlements in the 
interior of Asia Minor were known as early as the 3rd century BCE when Antiochus III resettled 2000 Jewish families from Babylonia into 
Lydia and Phrygia" 

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). 
Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Antiochus III the Great 106 


• Bar-Kochva, B. (1976). The Seleucid Army . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

• Bevan, Edwyn Robert (1902). The House of Seleucus . London: Edward Arnolds. 

• Cook, S. A.; Adcock, F. E.; Charlesworth, M. P., eds. (1928). The Cambridge Ancient History. 7 and 8. New 
York: Macmillan. 

• Grabbe, Lester L. (1992). Judaism from Cyrus to Hadrian. Fortress Press. 

• Kincaid, C. A. (1930). Successors of Alexander the Great. London: Pasmore and Co. 

• Livy (1976). Bettenson, H. ed. Rome and the Mediterranean. London: Penguin Books. 

• Rawlings, Hunter R. (1976). "Antiochus the Great and Rhodes, 197-191 BC". American Journal of Ancient 
History 1: 2-28. 

• Sherwin-White, Susan; Kuhrt, Amelie (1993). From Samarkhand to Sardis: A New Approach to the Seleucid 
Empire. Berkeley: University of California Press. 

External links 

• Antiochus III "the Great" ( entry in historical sourcebook by 
Mahlon H. Smith 





Maurya Samrat 

A "Chakravartin" ruler, first century BC/CE. Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati. Preserved at Musee Guimet 




Place of death 



Royal House 


Religious beliefs 

274-232 BC 
270 BC 

Samraat Chakravartin; other titles include Devanampriya and Priyadarsin 
304 BC 

Pataliputra, Patna 
232 BC (aged 72) 

Pataliputra, Patna 

Ashes immersed in the Ganges River, possibly at Varanasi, Cremated 232 BC, less than 24 hours after death 

Dasaratha Maurya 

Maharani Devi 

Rani Tishyaraksha 
Rani Padmavati 
Rani Kaurwaki 

Mahendra, Sanghamitra, Teevala, Kunala 
Mauryan dynasty 


Rani Dharma or Shubhadrangi 


Ashoka (Devanagan: 3T#f, IAST: Asoka, IPA: [a'eo:ke], ca. 304—232 BC), also known as Ashoka the Great, was 
an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 
BC. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military 
conquests. His empire stretched from present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan in the west, to the present-day 

Ashoka 108 

Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as northern Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. He 
conquered the kingdom named Kalinga, which none of his ancestors had conquered starting from Chandragupta 
Maurya. His reign was headquartered in Magadha (present-day Bihar). He embraced Buddhism after witnessing the 
mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he himself had waged out of a desire for conquest. He was later dedicated to 
the propagation of Buddhism across Asia and established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of 
Gautama Buddha. Ashoka was a devotee of ahimsa (nonviolence), love, truth, tolerance and vegetarianism. Ashoka 
is remembered in history as a philanthropic administrator. In the history of India, Ashoka is referred to as Samraat 
Chakravartin Ashoka — the "Emperor of Emperors Ashoka". 

His name "asoka" means "painless, without sorrow" in Sanskrit (the a privativum and soka "pain, distress"). In his 
edicts, he is referred to as Devdndmpriya (Pali Devanampiya or "The Beloved Of The Gods"), and Priyadarsin (Pali 
Piyadasi or "He who regards everyone with affection"). 

Along with the Edicts of Ashoka, his legend is related in the later 2nd-century Asokavadana {"Narrative of Asoka") 
and Divyavadana ("Divine narrative"), and in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa ("Great Chronicle"). 

Ashoka played a critical role in helping make Buddhism a world religion. As the peace-loving ruler of one of the 
world's largest, richest and most powerful multi-ethnic states, he is considered an exemplary ruler, who tried to put 
into practice a secular state ethic of non-violence. The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of 
the Lion Capital of Ashoka. 

Early life 

Ashoka was born to the Mauryan emperor Bindusara and his queen, Dharma [or Dhamma]. He was the grandson of 
Chandragupta Maurya, founder of Mauryan dynasty. Ashokavadana states that his mother was a queen named 
Subhadrangi, the daughter of Champa of Telangana. Queen Subhadrangi was a Brahmin of the Ajivika sect. Sage 
Pilindavatsa (aias Janasana) was a kalupaga Brahmin of the Ajivika sect had found Subhadrangi as a suitable 
match for Emperor Bindusara. A palace intrigue kept her away from the king. This eventually ended, and she bore a 
son. It is from her exclamation "I am now without sorrow", that Ashoka got his name. The Divyavadana tells a 
similar story, but gives the name of the queen as Janapadakalyam. 

Ashoka had several elder siblings, all of whom were his half-brothers from other wives of Bindusara. 

He had been given the royal military training knowledge. He was a fearsome hunter, and according to a legend, 
killed a lion with just a wooden rod. He was very adventurous and a trained fighter, who was known for his skills 
with the sword. Because of his reputation as a frightening warrior and a heartless general, he was sent to curb the 
riots in the Avanti province of the Mauryan empire. 



Rise to power 

The Divyavandana talks of Ashoka putting 
down a revolt due to activities of wicked 
ministers. This may have been an incident in 
Bindusara's times. Taranatha's account states 
that Chanakya, one of Bindusara's great 
lords, destroyed the nobles and kings of 16 
towns and made himself the master of all 
territory between the eastern and the western 
seas. Some historians consider this as an 
indication of Bindusara's conquest of the 
Deccan while others consider it as 
suppression of a revolt. Following this, 
Ashoka was stationed at Ujjayini as 



Bindusara's death in 273 BC led to a war 

over succession. According to 

Divyavandana, Bindusara wanted his son 

Sushim to succeed him but Ashoka was 

supported by his father's ministers. A 

minister named Radhagupta seems to have played an important role. Ashoka managed to become the king by getting 

rid of the legitimate heir to the throne, by tricking him into entering a pit filled with live coals. The Dipavansa and 

Mahavansa refer to Ashoka killing 99 of his brothers, sparing only one, named Tissa, although there is no clear 

proof about this incident. The coronation happened in 269 BC, four years after his succession to the throne. 

Maurya Empire at the age of Ashoka. The empire stretched from Afghanistan to 
Bangladesh/Assam and from Central Asia (Afghanistan) to Tamil Nadu/South 


Early life as Emperor 

Ashoka is said to have been of a wicked nature and bad temper. He 
submitted his ministers to a test of loyalty and had 500 of them killed. 
He also kept a harem of around 500 women. When a few of these 
women insulted him, he had the whole lot of them burnt to death. He 
also built hell on earth, an elaborate and horrific torture chamber. This 
torture chamber earned him the name of Chand Ashoka (Sanskrit), 
meaning Ashoka the Fierce 


Ascending the throne, Ashoka expanded his empire over the next eight 
years, from the present-day boundaries and regions of 
Burma— Bangladesh and the state of Assam in India in the east to the 
territory of present-day Iran / Persia and Afghanistan in the west; from 
the Pamir Knots in the north almost to the peninsular of southern India 
(i.e. Tamil Nadu / Andhra Pradesh) 


Asoka's Queen 

Conquest of Kalinga 



While the early part of Ashoka's reign was apparently quite bloodthirsty, he became a follower of the Buddha's 
teaching after his conquest of Kalinga on the east coast of India in the present-day states of Orissa and North Coastal 
Andhra Pradesh. Kalinga was a state that prided itself on its sovereignty and democracy. With its monarchical 
parliamentary democracy it was quite an exception in ancient Bharata where there existed the concept of Rajdharma. 
Rajdharma means the duty of the rulers, which was intrinsically entwined with the concept of bravery and Kshatriya 
dharma. The Kalinga War happened eight years after his coronation. From his 13th inscription, we come to know 
that the battle was a massive one and caused the deaths of more than 100,000 soldiers and many civilians who rose 
up in defense; over 150,000 were deported. When he was walking through the grounds of Kalinga after his 
conquest, rejoicing in his victory, he was moved by the number of bodies strewn there and the wails of the kith and 
kin of the dead. 

Buddhist conversion 

A similar four "Indian lion" Lion Capital of Ashoka 

atop an intact Ashoka Pillar at Wat U Mong near 

Chiang Mai, Thailand showing another larger Dharma 

Chakra / Ashoka Chakra atop the four lions thought to 

be missing in the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath 

Museum which has been adopted as the National 

Emblem of India. 

As the legend goes, one day after the war was over, Ashoka 
ventured out to roam the city and all he could see were burnt 
houses and scattered corpses. This sight made him sick and he 
cried the famous monologue: 

What have I done ? If this is a victory, what's a defeat 
then? Is this a victory or a defeat? Is this justice or 
injustice? Is it gallantry or a rout? Is it valor to kill 
innocent children and women? Do I do it to widen the 
empire and for prosperity or to destroy the other's 
kingdom and splendor? One has lost her husband, 
someone else a father, someone a child, someone an 
unborn infant... What's this debris of the corpses? 
Are these marks of victory or defeat? Are these 
vultures, crows, eagles the messengers of death or 

The brutality of the conquest led him to adopt Buddhism, and he 
used his position to propagate the relatively new religion to new 
heights, as far as ancient Rome and Egypt. He made Buddhism his 
state religion around 260 BC, and propagated it and preached it 
within his domain and worldwide from about 250 BC. Emperor 
Ashoka undoubtedly has to be credited with the first serious 
attempt to develop a Buddhist policy. 



Ashokan Pillar at Vaishali 

Prominent in this cause were his son Venerable Mahindra and 
daughter Sanghamitra (whose name means "friend of the 
Sangha"), who established Buddhism in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). 
He built thousands of Stupas and Viharas for Buddhist followers. 
The Stupas of Sanchi are world famous and the stupa named 
Sanchi Stupa was built by Emperor Ashoka. During the remaining 
portion of Ashoka's reign, he pursued an official policy of 
nonviolence (ahimsa). Even the unnecessary slaughter or 
mutilation of animals was immediately abolished. Everyone 
became protected by the king's law against sport hunting and 
branding. Limited hunting was permitted for consumption reasons 
but Ashoka also promoted the concept of vegetarianism. Ashoka 
also showed mercy to those imprisoned, allowing them leave for 
the outside a day of the year. He attempted to raise the 
professional ambition of the common man by building universities 
for study, and water transit and irrigation systems for trade and 
agriculture. He treated his subjects as equals regardless of their 
religion, politics and caste. The kingdoms surrounding his, so 
easily overthrown, were instead made to be well-respected allies. 

He is acclaimed for constructing hospitals for animals and renovating major roads throughout India. After this 
transformation, Ashoka came to be known as Dhammashoka (Sanskrit), meaning Ashoka, the follower of Dharma. 
Ashoka defined the main principles of dharma (dhamma) as nonviolence, tolerance of all sects and opinions, 
obedience to parents, respect for the Brahmans and other religious teachers and priests, liberality towards friends, 
humane treatment of servants, and generosity towards all. These principles suggest a general ethic of behaviour to 
which no religious or social group could object. 

Some critics say that Ashoka was afraid of more wars, but among his neighbors, including the Seleucid Empire and 
the Greco-Bactrian kingdom established by Diodotus I, none could match his strength. He was a contemporary of 
both Antiochus I Soter and his successor Antiochus II Theos of the Seleucid dynasty as well as Diodotus I and his 
son Diodotus II of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. If his inscriptions and edicts are well studied one finds that he was 
familiar with the Hellenic world but never in awe of it. His edicts, which talk of friendly relations, give the names of 
both Antiochus of the Seleucid empire and Ptolemy III of Egypt. The fame of the Mauryan empire was widespread 
from the time that Ashoka's grandfather Chandragupta Maurya defeated Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the 
Seleucid Dynasty. 

The source of much of our knowledge of Ashoka is the 
many inscriptions he had carved on pillars and rocks 
throughout the empire. All his inscriptions have the 
imperial touch and show compassionate loving. He 
addressed his people as his "children". These 
inscriptions promoted Buddhist morality and 
encouraged nonviolence and adherence to Dharma 
(duty or proper behavior), and they talk of his fame and 
conquered lands as well as the neighboring kingdoms 
holding up his might. One also gets some primary 
information about the Kalinga War and Ashoka's allies 

Stupa of Sanchi 

Ashoka 112 

plus some useful knowledge on the civil administration. The Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath is the most popular of the 
relics left by Ashoka. Made of sandstone, this pillar records the visit of the emperor to Sarnath, in the 3rd century 
BC. It has a four-lion capital (four lions standing back to back) which was adopted as the emblem of the modern 
Indian republic. The lion symbolizes both Ashoka's imperial rule and the kingship of the Buddha. In translating these 
monuments, historians learn the bulk of what is assumed to have been true fact of the Mauryan Empire. It is difficult 
to determine whether or not some actual events ever happened, but the stone etchings clearly depict how Ashoka 
wanted to be thought of and remembered. 

Ashoka's own words as known from his Edicts are: "All men are my children. I am like a father to them. As every 
father desires the good and the happiness of his children, I wish that all men should be happy always." Edward 
D'Cruz interprets the Ashokan dharma as a "religion to be used as a symbol of a new imperial unity and a cementing 
force to weld the diverse and heterogeneous elements of the empire". 

Also, in the Edicts, Ashoka mentions that some of the people living in Hellenic countries as converts to Buddhism, 
although no Hellenic historical record of this event remain: 

Now it is conquest by Dhamma [(which conquest means peaceful conversion, not military conquest)] that 
Beloved-of-the-Gods considers to be the best conquest. And it (conquest by Dhamma) has been won here, on 
the borders, even six hundred yojanas away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the 
four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the 
Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni. Here in the king's domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, 
the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following 
Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dhamma. Even where Beloved-of-the-Gods' envoys have not been, these 
people too, having heard of the practice of Dhamma and the ordinances and instructions in Dhamma given by 
Beloved-of-the-Gods, are following it and will continue to do so. 


— Edicts of Ashoka, Rock Edict (S. Dhammika) 

Ashoka also claims that he encouraged the development of herbal medicine, for human and nonhuman animals, in 
their territories: 

Everywhere within Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi's [Ashoka's] domain, and among the people beyond 
the borders, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Satiyaputras, the Keralaputras, as far as Tamraparni and where the 
Greek king Antiochos rules, and among the kings who are neighbours of Antiochos, everywhere has 
Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment 
for humans and medical treatment for animals. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not 
available, I have had them imported and grown. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had 
them imported and grown. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and 

— Edicts of Ashoka, Rock Edict 2 

The Greeks in India even seem to have played an active role in the propagation of Buddhism, as some of the 
emissaries of Ashoka, such as Dharmaraksita, are described in Pali sources as leading Greek (Yona) Buddhist 
monks, active in spreading Buddhism (the Mahavamsa, XII ). 

Ashoka 113 

Death and legacy 

Ashoka ruled for an estimated forty years. After his death, the Mauryan 
dynasty lasted just fifty more years. Ashoka had many wives and 
children, but many of their names are lost to time. Mahindra and 
Sanghamitra were twins born by his first wife, Devi, in the city of 
Ujjain. He had entrusted to them the job of making his state religion, 
Buddhism, more popular across the known and the unknown world. 
Mahindra and Sanghamitra went into Sri Lanka and converted the 
King, the Queen and their people to Buddhism. They were naturally 
not handling state affairs after him. 

The Junagadh rock contains inscriptions by 

In his old age, he seems to have come under the spell of his youngest Ashoka (fourteen of the Edicts of Ashoka), 

wife Tishyaraksha. It is said that she had got his son Kunala, the regent Rudradaman I and Skandagupta. 

in Takshashila, blinded by a wily stratagem. The official executioners 

spared Kunala and he became a wandering singer accompanied by his favourite wife Kanchanmala. In Pataliputra, 

Ashoka hears Kunala's song, and realizes that Kunala's misfortune may have been a punishment for some past sin of 

the emperor himself and condemns Tishyaraksha to death, restoring Kunala to the court. Kunala was succeeded by 

his son, Samprati, but his rule did not last long after Ashoka's death. 

The reign of Ashoka Maurya could easily have disappeared into history as the ages passed by, and would have had 
he not left behind a record of his trials. The testimony of this wise king was discovered in the form of magnificently 
sculpted pillars and boulders with a variety of actions and teachings he wished to be published etched into the stone. 
What Ashoka left behind was the first written language in India since the ancient city of Harappa. The language used 
for inscription was the then current spoken form called Prakrit. 

In the year 185 BC, about fifty years after Ashoka's death, the last Maurya ruler, Brhadrata, was assassinated by the 
commander-in-chief of the Mauryan armed forces, Pusyamitra Sunga, while he was taking the Guard of Honor of his 
forces. Pusyamitra Sunga founded the Sunga dynasty (185 BC-78 BC) and ruled just a fragmented part of the 
Mauryan Empire. Many of the northwestern territories of the Mauryan Empire (modern-day Afghanistan and 
Northern Pakistan) became the Indo-Greek Kingdom. 

In 1992, Ashoka was ranked #53 on Michael H. Hart's list of the most influential figures in history. In 2001, a 
semi-fictionalized portrayal of Ashoka's life was produced as a motion picture under the title Asoka. King Ashoka, 
the third monarch of the Indian Mauryan dynasty, has come to be regarded as one of the most exemplary rulers in 
world history. The British historian H.G Wells has written: "Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that 
crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the 
name of Asoka shines, and shines, almost alone, a star." 

Buddhist Kingship 

Further information: Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Buddhism in Burma 

One of the more enduring legacies of Ashoka Maurya was the model that he provided for the relationship between 
Buddhism and the state. Throughout Theravada Southeastern Asia, the model of rulership embodied by Ashoka 
replaced the notion of divine kingship that had previously dominated (in the Angkor kingdom, for instance). Under 
this model of 'Buddhist kingship', the king sought to legitimize his rule not through descent from a divine source, but 
by supporting and earning the approval of the Buddhist sangha. Following Ashoka's example, kings established 
monasteries, funded the construction of stupas, and supported the ordination of monks in their kingdom. Many rulers 
also took an active role in resolving disputes over the status and regulation of the sangha, as Ashoka had in calling a 
conclave to settle a number of contentious issues during his reign. This development ultimately lead to a close 
association in many Southeast Asian countries between the monarchy and the religious hierarchy, an association that 



can still be seen today in the state-supported Buddhism of Thailand and the traditional role of the Thai king as both a 
religious and secular leader. Ashoka also said that all his courtiers were true to their self and always governed the 
people in a moral manner. 

Historical sources 
Western sources 

Ashoka was almost forgotten by the historians of the early British India, but James Prinsep contributed in the 
revelation of historical sources. Another important historian was British archaeologist John Hubert Marshall who 
was director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India. His main interests were Sanchi and Sarnath besides 
Harappa and Mohenjodaro. Sir Alexander Cunningham, a British archaeologist and army engineer and often known 
as the father of the Archaeological Survey of India, unveiled heritage sites like the Bharhut Stupa, Sarnath, Sanchi, 
and the Mahabodhi Temple; thus, his contribution is recognizable in realms of historical sources. Mortimer Wheeler, 
a British archaeologist, also exposed Ashokan historical sources, especially the Taxila. 

Eastern sources 

Information about the life and reign of Ashoka primarily comes from a 
relatively small number of Buddhist sources. In particular, the Sanskrit 
Ashokavadana ('Story of Ashoka'), written in the 2nd century, and the 
two Pali chronicles of Sri Lanka (the Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa) 
provide most of the currently known information about Ashoka. 
Additional information is contributed by the Edicts of Asoka, whose 
authorship was finally attributed to the Ashoka of Buddhist legend 
after the discovery of dynastic lists that gave the name used in the 
edicts {Priyadarsi — 'favored by the Gods') as a title or additional name 
of Ashoka Mauriya. Architectural remains of his period have been 
found at Kumhrar, Patna, which include an 80-pillar hypostyle hall. 

Bilingual inscription in (Greek and Aramaic) by 

king Ashoka, from Kandahar (Shar-i-kuna). 

Kabul Museum. 

Edicts of Ashoka -The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 

inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave 

walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 272 to 231 BC. These 

inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Pakistan and India, and represent the first tangible 

evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail the first wide expansion of Buddhism through the sponsorship of 

one of the most powerful kings of Indian give more information about Ashoka's proselytism, Moral 

precepts, Religious precepts, Social and animal welfare . 

Ashokavadana - The Ashokavadana is a 2nd century CE text related to the legend of the Maurya Emperor Ashoka. 
The legend was translated into Chinese by Fa Hien in 300 CE. 

Mahavamsa -The Mahavamsa ("Great Chronicle") is a historical poem written in the Pali language, of the kings of 
Sri Lanka. It covers the period from the coming of King Vijaya of Kalinga (ancient Orissa) in 543 BC to the reign of 
King Mahasena (334—361). As it often refers to the royal dynasties of India, the Mahavamsa is also valuable for 
historians who wish to date and relate contemporary royal dynasties in the Indian subcontinent. It is very important 
in dating the consecration of the Maurya emperor Ashoka. 

Dipavamsa -The Dipavamsa, or "Deepavamsa", (i.e., Chronicle of the Island, in Pali) is the oldest historical record of 
Sri Lanka. The chronicle is believe to be compiled from Atthakatha and other sources around the 3— 4th century, 
King Dhatusena (4th century CE) had ordered that the Dipavamsa be recited at the Mahinda (son to Ashoka) festival 
held annually in Anuradhapura. 

Ashoka 115 

The use of Buddhist sources in reconstructing the life of Ashoka has had a strong influence on perceptions of 
Ashoka, as well as the interpretations of his edicts. Building on traditional accounts, early scholars regarded Ashoka 
as a primarily Buddhist monarch who underwent a conversion to Buddhism and was actively engaged in sponsoring 
and supporting the Buddhist monastic institution. Some scholars have tended to question this assessment. The only 
source of information not attributable to Buddhist sources are the Ashokan edicts, and these do not explicitly state 
that Ashoka was a Buddhist. In his edicts, Ashoka expresses support for all the major religions of his time: 
Buddhism, Brahmanism, Jainism, and Ajivikaism, and his edicts addressed to the population at large (there are some 
addressed specifically to Buddhists; this is not the case for the other religions) generally focus on moral themes 
members of all the religions would accept. 

However, there is strong evidence in the edicts alone that he was a Buddhist. In one edict he belittles rituals, and he 
banned Vedic animal sacrifices; these strongly suggest that he at least did not look to the Vedic tradition for 
guidance. Furthermore, there are many edicts expressed to Buddhists alone; in one, Ashoka declares himself to be an 
"upasaka", and in another he demonstrates a close familiarity with Buddhist texts. He erected rock pillars at Buddhist 
holy sites, but did not do so for the sites of other religions. He also used the word "dhamma" to refer to qualities of 
the heart that underlie moral action; this was an exclusively Buddhist use of the word. Finally, the ideals he promotes 
correspond to the first three steps of the Buddha's graduated discourse. 


Global spread of Buddhism 

Ashoka, now a Buddhist emperor, believed that Buddhism is beneficial for all human beings as well as animals and 
plants, so he built 84,000 stupas, Sangharama, viharas, Chaitya, and residences for Buddhist monks all over South 
Asia and Central Asia. He gave donations to viharas and mathas. He sent his only daughter Sanghamitta and son 
Mahindra to spread Buddhism in Sri Lanka (ancient name Tamraparni). Ashoka also sent many prominent Buddhist 
monks (bhikshus) Sthaviras like Madhyamik Sthavira to modern Kashmir and Afghanistan; Maharaskshit Sthavira to 
Syria, Persia / Iran, Egypt, Greece, Italy and Turkey; Massim Sthavira to Nepal, Bhutan, China and Mongolia; Sohn 
Uttar Sthavira to modern Cambodia, Laos, Burma (old name Suvarnabhumi for Burma and Thailand), Thailand and 
Vietnam; Mahadhhamarakhhita stahvira to Maharashtra (old name Maharatthha); Maharakhhit Sthavira and 
Yavandhammarakhhita Sthavira to South India. Ashoka also invited Buddhists and non-Buddhists for religious 
conferences. Ashoka inspired the Buddhist monks to compose the sacred religious texts, and also gave all types of 
help to that end. Ashoka also helped to develop viharas (intellectual hubs) such as Nalanda and Taxila. Ashoka 
helped to construct Sanchi and Mahabodhi Temple. Ashoka never tried to harm or to destroy non-Buddhist religions, 
and indeed gave donations to non-Buddhists. As his reign continued his even-handedness was replaced with special 
inclination towards Buddhism. Ashoka helped and respected both Sramans (Buddhists monks) and Brahmins 
(Vedic monks). Ashoka also helped to organize the Third Buddhist council (c. 250 BC) at Pataliputra (today's Patna). 
It was conducted by the monk Moggaliputta-Tissa who was the spiritual teacher of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. 



As administrator 

Mauryan ringstone, with standing goddess. Northwest Pakistan, third 
century BC. British Museum. 

Ashoka's military power was so strong that he was able 
to crush those empires that went to war against him. 
Still, he was on friendly terms with kingdoms in the 
South like Cholas, Pandya, Keralputra, the post 
Alexandrian empire, Tamraparni, and Suvarnabhumi 
who were strong enough to remain outside his empire 
and continued to profess Hinduism. According to his 
edicts we know that he provided humanitarian help 
including doctors, hospitals, inns, wells, medical herbs 
and engineers to his neighboring countries. In 
neighboring countries, Ashoka helped humans as well 
as animals. Ashoka also planted trees in his empire and 

his neighboring countries. Ashoka was perhaps the first emperor in human history to ban slavery, hunting, fishing 

and deforestation. Ashoka also banned the death sentence and asked the same for the neighboring countries. 

Ashoka commanded his people to serve the orders of their elders parents and religious monks (shramana and 

Brahmin). Ashoka also recommended his people study and respect all religions. According to Ashoka, to harm 

another's religion is a harm to one's own religion. Ashoka asserted his people to live with Dharmmacharana. Ashoka 

asked people to live with harmony, peace, love and tolerance. Ashoka called his people as his children, and they 

could call him when they need him. He also asked people to save money and not to spend for immoral causes. 

Ashoka also believed in dharmacharana (dhammacharana) and dharmavijaya (dhammavijaya). According to many 

European and Asian historians the age of Ashoka was the age of light and delightment. He was the first emperor in 

human history who has taught the lesson of unity, peace, equality and love. Ashoka's aim was not to expand the 

territories but the welfare of all of his subjects (sarvajansukhay). In his vast empire there was no evidence of 

recognizable mutiny or civil war. Ashoka was the true devotee of nonviolence, peace and love. This made him 

different from other emperors. Ashoka also helped Buddhism as well as religions like Jainism, Hinduism, Hellenic 

polytheism and Ajivikas. Ashoka was against any discrimination among humans. He helped students, the poor, 

orphans and the elderly with social, political and economic help. According to Ashoka, hatred gives birth to hatred 

and a feeling of love gives birth to love and mercy. According to him the happiness of people is the happiness of the 

ruler. His opinion was that the sword is not as powerful as love. Ashoka was also kind to prisoners, and respected 

animal life and tree life. Ashoka allowed females to be educated. He also permitted females to enter religious 

institutions. He allowed female Buddhist monastics such as Bhikkhuni. He combined in himself the complexity of a 

king and a simplicity of a buddhist monk. Because of these reasons he is known as the emperor of all ages and thus 

became a milestone in the History of the world. 



Ashoka Chakra 

The Ashoka Chakra (the wheel of Ashoka) is a depiction of the 
Dharmachakra or Dhammachakka in Pali, the Wheel of Dharma 
(Sanskrit: Chakra means wheel). The wheel has 24 spokes. The 
Ashoka Chakra has been widely inscribed on many relics of the 
Mauryan Emperor, most prominent among which is the Lion Capital of 
Sarnath and The Ashoka Pillar. The most visible use of the Ashoka 
Chakra today is at the centre of the National flag of the Republic of 
India (adopted on 22 July 1947), where it is rendered in a Navy-blue 
color on a White background, by replacing the symbol of Charkha 
(Spinning wheel) of the pre-independence versions of the flag. Ashoka 
Chakra can also been seen on the base of Lion Capital of Ashoka 
which has been adopted as the National Emblem of India. 

The Ashoka chakra was built by Ashoka during his reign. Chakra is a 
Sanskrit word which also means cycle or self repeating process. The 
process it signifies is the cycle of time as how the world changes with 

A few days before India became independent on August 1947, the specially constituted Constituent Assembly 

The Ashoka Chakra, "the wheel of 

Righteousness " (Dharma in Sanskrit or Dhamma 

in Pali) " 

decided that the flag of India must be acceptable to all parties and communities 
Saffron, White and Green with the Ashoka Chakra was selected. 


A flag with three colours, 

Pillars of Ashoka (Ashokstambha) 

The pillars of Ashoka are a series of columns dispersed throughout the northern Indian subcontinent, and erected by 
Ashoka during his reign in the 3rd century BC. Originally, there must have been many pillars of Ashoka although 
only ten with inscriptions still survive. Averaging between forty and fifty feet in height, and weighing up to fifty tons 
each, all the pillars were quarried at Chunar, just south of Varanasi and dragged, sometimes hundreds of miles, to 
where they were erected. The first Pillar of Ashoka was found in the 16th century by Thomas Cory at in the ruins of 
ancient Delhi. The wheel represents the sun time and Buddhist law, while the swastika stands for the cosmic dance 
around a fixed center and guards against evil. There is no evidence of a swastika, or manji, on the pillars. 



The Asokan pillar at Lumbini, Nepal 

Lion Capital of Asoka (Ashokmudra) 

The Lion capital of Ashoka is a sculpture of four "Indian lions" 
standing back to back. It was originally placed atop the Asoka pillar at 
Sarnath, now in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The pillar, sometimes 
called the Asoka Column is still in its original location, but the Lion 
Capital is now in the Sarnath Museum. This Lion Capital of Ashoka 
from Sarnath has been adopted as the National Emblem of India and 
the wheel "Ashoka Chakra" from its base was placed onto the center of 
the National Flag of India. 

The capital contains four lions (Indian / Asiatic Lions), standing back 
to back, mounted on an abacus, with a frieze carrying sculptures in 
high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull, and a Hon, 
separated by intervening spoked chariot-wheels over a bell-shaped 
lotus. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital 
was believed to be crowned by a 'Wheel of Dharma' (Dharmachakra 
popularly known in India as the "Ashoka Chakra"). 

The Ashoka Lion capital or the Sarnath lion capital is also known as the national symbol of India. The Sarnath pillar 
bears one of the Edicts of Ashoka, an inscription against division within the Buddhist community, which reads, "No 
one shall cause division in the order of monks". The Sarnath pillar is a column surmounted by a capital, which 
consists of a canopy representing an inverted bell-shaped lotus flower, a short cylindrical abacus with four 24-spoked 
Dharma wheels with four animals (an elephant, a bull, a horse, a lion). 

The four animals in the Sarnath capital are believed to symbolize different steps of Lord Buddha's life. 

• The Elephant represents the Buddha's idea in reference to the dream of Queen Maya of a white elephant entering 
her womb. 

• The Bull represents desire during the life of the Buddha as a prince. 

• The Horse represents Buddha's departure from palatial life. 

• The Lion represents the accomplishment of Buddha. 

Besides the religious interpretations, there are some non-religious interpretations also about the symbolism of the 
Ashoka capital pillar at Sarnath. According to them, the four lions symbolize Ashoka's rule over the four directions, 
the wheels as symbols of his enlightened rule (Chakravartin) and the four animals as symbols of four adjoining 
territories of India. 

Constructions credited to Ashoka 

Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India 

Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India 

Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar, India 

Barabar Caves, Bihar, India 

Nalanda University (Vishwaviddyalaya), (some portions like Sariputta Stupa), Bihar, India 

Taxila University (Vishwaviddyalaya), (some portions like Dharmarajika Stupa and Kunala Stupa), Taxila, 


Bhir Mound, (reconstructed), Taxila, Pakistan 

Bharhut stupa, Madhya Pradesh, India 

Deorkothar Stupa, Madhya Pradesh, India 

Butkara Stupa, Swat, Pakistan 

Ashoka 119 

Ashoka today 

In art, film and literature 

• One of the most famous figures in modern Hindi literature, Jaishankar Prasad, composed Ashoka ki chinta (in 
English: Anxiety of Ashoka), a famous Hindi verse. The poem portrays Ashoka's heart during the war of Kalinga. 

• Uttar-Priyadarshi (The Final Beatitude) a verse-play written by poet Agyeya, depicting his redemption, was 
adapted to stage in 1996 by theatre director, Ratan Thiyam and has since been performed in many parts of the 
world. [14][15] 

• In Piers Anthony's series of space opera novels, the main character mentions Asoka as a model for administrators 
to strive for. 

• Asoka is a 2001 epic Bollywood historical drama. It is a largely fictional version of the life of the Indian emperor 
Ashoka. The film was directed by Santosh Sivan and stars Shahrukh Khan as Ashoka and Kareena Kapoor as 
Kaurwaki, a princess of Kalinga. The film ends with Asoka renouncing the sword and embracing Buddhism. The 
final narrative describes how Asoka not only built a large empire, but spread Buddhism and the winds of peace 
through it. 

• The Legend of Kunal is an upcoming film based on the life of Kunal, the son of the Indian emperor Ashoka. The 
movie will be directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi. 


[I] Thapur (1973), p. 51. 

[2] Bruce Rich. To Uphold The World Author Discussion ( 12/4) 

[3] History And Doctrines Of The Ajivikas A Vanished Indian Religion By A. L. Basham 

[4] K. T. S. Sarao (2007). A text book of the history ofTheravada Buddhism (2 ed.). Department of Buddhist Studies, University of Delhi, p. 89. 

ISBN 9788186700662. 
[5] Upinder Singh (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th century. Pearson Education. 

ISBN 9788131716779. 
[6] Prachin bharoter itihas by Sunil Chatterjee 
[7] prachin bharater itihas by sunil chattopadhyay 
[8] The Edicts of King Asoka: an English rendering by Ven. S. Dhammika ( 

html#rockl4). Access to Insight: Readings in Theravada Buddhism. Last accessed 01 Sep 201 1. 
[9] Full text of the Mahavamsa Click chapter XII ( 
[10] Richard Robinson, Willard Johnson, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Buddhist Religions, fifth ed., Wadsworth 2005, page 59. 

[II] N.V. Isaeva, Shankara and Indian philosophy. SUNY Press, 1993, page 24. 

[12] Available at: Asoka: Rock and Pillar Edicts ( Then Again: David Koeller. 

Retrieved on: 2009-02-21 
[13] Heimer, Zeljko (2 July 2006). "India" ( Flags of the World. . Retrieved 2006-10-11. 
[14] Margo Jefferson (October 27, 2000). "Next Wave Festival Review; In Stirring Ritual Steps, Past and Present Unfold" (http://theater. html?pagewanted=print&res=990ce6dcll31f934al5753cla9669c8b63). New York Times. . 
[15] Review: Uttarpriyadarshi ( by Renee Renouf, ballet magazine, 

December 2000, 


• Ahir, D. C. (1995). Asoka the Great. Delhi: B. R. Publishing. 

• Bhandarkar, D.R. (1969). Asoka (4th ed.). Calcutta: Calcutta University Press. 

• Bongard-Levin, G. M. Mauryan India (Stosius Inc/ Advent Books Division May 1986) ISBN 0-86590-826-5 

• Chauhan, Gian Chand (2004). Origin and Growth of Feudalism in Early India: From the Mauryas to AD 650. 
Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi. ISBN 978-8121510288 

• Durant, Will (1935). Our Oriental Heritage. New York: Simon and Schuster. 

• Falk, Harry. Asokan Sites and Artefacts - A Source-book with Bibliography (Mainz : Philipp von Zabern, [2006]) 
ISBN 978-3-8053-3712-0 

Ashoka 120 

• Gokhale, Balkrishna Govind (1996). Asoka Maurya (Twayne Publishers) ISBN 978-0829017359 

• Hultzsch, Eugene (1914). The Date of Asoka, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and 
Ireland (Oct., 1914), pp. 943-951. Article stable URL. ( 

• Keay, John. India: A History (Grove Press; 1 Grove Pr edition May 10, 2001) ISBN 0-8021-3797-0 

• Mookerji, Radhakumud (1962). Asoka (3rd ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas. 

• Nikam, N. A.; McKeon, Richard (1959). The Edicts of Asoka. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 

• Sastri, K. A. Nilakanta (1967). Age of the Nandas and Mauryas. Reprint: 1996, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. ISBN 

• Swearer, Donald. Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asia (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: Anima Books, 1981) 
ISBN 0-89012-023-4 

• Thapar, Romila. (1973). Asoka and the decline of the Mauryas. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, Reprint, 
1980. SBN 19-660379 6. 

External links 

• Ashoka (http://www.dmoz.Org/Society/History/By_Region/Asia/South_Asia/Personalities/Ashoka//) at 
the Open Directory Project 

• International Vegetarian Union: King Asoka of India ( 

Ashot I of Iberia 


Ashot I of Iberia 

Ashot I 
d9m(8) I 

Prince of Iberia 

Ashot Kurapalates, first Bagrationi King of Georgia, 829 AD 


King of Georgia 



Stephen III 

Bagrat I of Iberia 
Adarnase II of Tao-Klarjeti 
Guaram Mampali 


Bagrat I of Iberia 
Adarnase II of Tao-Klarjeti 
Guaram Mampali 
Bagrationi, Queen of Abasgia 





Adarnase I of Tao-Klarjeti 

c. 826/830 
Nigali valley 

Georgian Orthodox Church 

Ashot I the Great (Georgian: ^Sm^ I goocoo) (died 826/830) was a presiding prince of Iberia (modern Georgia), first 
of the Bagratid family to have attained to this office c. 813. From his base in Tao-Klarjeti, he fought to enlarge the 
Bagratid territories and sought the Byzantine protectorate against the Arab encroachment until being murdered c. 
830. Ashot is also known as Ashot I Curopalates for the Byzantine title he wore. A patron of Christian culture and a 
friend of the church, he has been canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church. 

Ashot I of Iberia 122 


Ashot was the son of the Iberian nobleman Adarnase who had founded the Bagratid hereditary fiefdom in 
Tao-Klarjeti (now northeast Turkey) and bequeathed to his son extensive possessions acquired upon the extinction of 
his Guaramid and Chosroid cousins. Ashot initially failed to gain a foothold in central Iberia (Shida Kartli), his 
efforts being dashed by the Arab control of Tiflis. Ashot established himself in his patrimonial duchy of Klarjeti, 
where he restored the castle of Artanuji said to have been built by the Iberian king Vakhtang I Gorgasali in the 5th 
century, and received the Byzantine protection, being recognized as the presiding prince and curopalates of Iberia. 
To revive the country devastated by the Arabs and cholera epidemics, he patronized the local monastic communities 
established by Grigol Khandzteli, and encouraged the settlement of the Georgians in the region. As a result, the 
political and religious center of Iberia was effectively transferred from central Iberia to the south-west, in 
Tao-Klarjeti. [1][2] 

From his base in Tao-Klarjeti, Ashot fought to recover more Georgian lands from the Arab hold and, though not 
always successful, succeeded in taking much of the adjoining lands from Tao in the southwest to Shida Kartli in the 
northeast, including Kola, Artani, Javakheti, Samtskhe, and Trialeti. Of the former Chosroid possessions, only 
Kakheti to the east eluded him. With local Arab emirs in the Caucasus growing ever more independent, the Caliph 
recognized Ashot as the prince of Iberia in order to counter the rebellious emir of Tiflis Isma'il ibn Shu'aib c. 818. 
The emir had enlisted support of Ashot' s foe — the Kakhetian prince Grigol — and the Georgian highland tribes of 

Mtiulians and Tsanars. Ashot, joined by the Byzantine vassal king of Abasgia, Theodosius II, met the emir on the 

Ksani, winning a victory and pushing the Kakhetians from central Iberian lands. 

The Bagratids' fortunes reversed when Khalid b. Yazid, the Caliph's viceroy of Arminiya, moved in to reinforce the 
central Arab authority in the Caucasian polities in 827/8. Ashot I must have been still alive at that time, and the 
information provided by the 1 lth-century Georgian chronicler Sumbat, according to which Ashot was murdered in 
826, is doubtful. It is more likely that the event took place four years later, on January 29, 830. Driven by the Arabs 
from central Iberia, Ashot fell back to the Nigali valley where he was assassinated by renegades at the altar of a local 

Upon Ashot's death, his holdings were allotted to his three sons: Bagrat, Adarnase, and Guaram. His daughter was 

married to Theodosius II of Abasgia. 


[1] Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), Studies in Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts, passim. Peeters Publishers, 

ISBN 90-429-1318-5 
[2] Surry, Ronald Grigor (1994), The Making of the Georgian Nation, pp. 29-30. Indiana University Press, ISBN 0253209153 
[3] Rapp (2003), p. 356 
[4] Toumanoff, Cyril (1956), "Date of the death of the Curopalates Ashot". Le Museon, LXIX, 1—2: 83—85 

Askia Mohammad I 


Askia Mohammad I 

Askia Mohammed I 

Emperor of the Songhai Empire 


Full name 




1493 — 1528 


Muhammad Toure 
ca. 1443 


Tomb of Askia, Gao, Mali 

Sunni Bam (1492-1493) 

Ismail and Haibe 

Askia Dynasty or Songhai Empire 

Askia the Great (ca. 1443 — 1538, also Muhammad Toure, 

Askia (ass-key-a)) was an emperor of the Songhai Empire in the 
late 15th century, the successor of Sunni Ali Ber. Askia 
Muhammad strengthened his country and made it the largest 
country in West Africa's history. At its peak under Muhammad, 
the Songhai Empire encompassed the Hausa states as far as Kano 
(in present-day Nigeria) and much of the territory that had 
belonged to the Mali Empire in the west. His policies resulted in a 
rapid expansion of trade with Europe and Asia, the creation of 
many schools, and made Islam an integral part of the empire. 

Due to his efforts, Mali experienced a cultural revival it had never 

witnessed before, and the whole land flourished as a center of all things valuable in learning and trade 

Extent of the Songhai Empire, 
circa 1500. 



After Sunni Ali Ber died, Sunni Baru, his son and intended successor, 
refused to declare himself a Muslim. His refusal gave one of Sunni Ali 
Ber's generals, Muhammad Ture, a reason to challenge his 
succession. General Ture defeated Sunni Baru and ascended to the 

throne in 1493 


General Ture, later known as Askia Muhammad I or Askia the Great, 

subsequently orchestrated a program of expansion and consolidation 

which extended the empire from Taghaza in the North to the borders of 

Yatenga in the South; and from Air in the Northeast to Futa Tooro in 

Guinea. Instead of organizing the empire along Islamic lines, he 

tempered and improved on the traditional model by instituting a system 

of bureaucratic government unparalleled in Western Africa. In 

addition, Askia established standardized trade measures and regulations, and initiated the policing of trade routes. He 

also established an organized tax system. 

The Timbuktu Manuscripts showing both 

mathematics and astronomy, many Malian rulers 

including Askia Mohammad I promoted the 

publications of such manuscripts. 

Askia Mohammad I 


Askia encouraged learning and literacy, ensuring that 
Mali's universities produced the most distinguished 
scholars, many of whom published significant books. 
To secure the legitimacy of his usurpation of the Sonni 
dynasty, Askia Muhammad allied himself with the 

scholars of Timbuktu, ushering in a golden age in the 

city for Muslim scholarship. The eminent scholar 

Ahmed Baba, for example, produced books on Islamic 

law which are still in use today. Muhammad Kati 

published Tarik al-Fattah and Abdul-Rahman as-Sadi 

published Tarik ul-Sudan ("Chronicle of Africa"), two 

history books which are indispensable to present-day 

scholars reconstructing African history in the Middle 


Tomb of Askia 

Askia is buried in the Tomb of Askia in Gao, a World Heritage Site. 

External links 

• Kingdoms of the Medieval Sudan - Xavier University 


Ancient African Legends 



[1] Biographical information on historical African figures ( from 

[2] Mohammed I (Askia the Great) ( from 

[3] Vogel, Joseph O., Encyclopedia of Precolonial Africa: Archaeology, History, Languages, Cultures, and Environments, page 493 (1997). 

ISBN 0761989021 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


Bhumibol Adulyadej 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 

King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2010 

King of Thailand 


9 June 1946 - present 
65 years, 327 days 


5 May 1950 


Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) 

Heir apparent 

Maha Vajiralongkorn 

Prime Ministers 


Sirikit Kitiyakara 
(Since 28 April 1950) 


Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya 
HRH The Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn 
HRH The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn 
HRH The Princess Chulabhorn Walailak 


House of Mahidol 
Chakri Dynasty 

Father Mahidol Adulyadej, Prince of Songkla 

Mother Srinagarindra 



5 December 1927 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, US 


Theravada Buddhism 

Bhumibol Adulyadej (RTGS: Phumiphon Adunyadet; Thai: rjiJWiaaGiameifl, pronounced [p h u:.mi.p h on 
?] ( 4)) listen); see full title below; born 5 December 1927) is the current Monarch of Thailand. He is 
known as Rama IX. Having reigned since 9 June 1946, he is the world's longest-serving current head of state and 
the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. 

Although Bhumibol is legally a constitutional monarch, he has made several decisive interventions in the Thai 
political sphere. He was credited with facilitating Thailand's transition to democracy in the 1990s, although he has 
supported numerous military regimes, including Sarit Dhanarajata's during the 1960s and the Council for National 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


Security in 2006—8. During his long reign, he has authorized over 15 coups, 16 constitutions, and 27 changes of 
prime ministers. He has also used his influence to stop military coups, including attempts in 1981 and 1985. 
Bhumibol is advised by a hand-picked Privy Council. 

Bhumibol is respected and revered by many Thais. He is, by law passed by the Thai parliament, considered 
"inviolable" and lese majeste, i.e. offence against the dignity of the monarch, may be punished. In 1957, the 
overthrow of the government was justified with allegations of lese majeste. Bhumibol however invited public 


criticism in a 2005 speech. 

Bhumibol is credited with a social-economic theory of self-sufficiency. His personal wealth is tremendous: Forbes 
estimated Bhumibol's personal fortune, including property managed by the Crown Property Bureau which is 
considered national property, to be US$30 billion in 2010, and he has been consistently placed at number one of 
the magazine's list of "The World's Richest Royals". The Crown Property Bureau spends money on public 

welfare such as youth development, however it does not pay taxes and its finances are reported only to Bhumibol. 

Bhumibol himself has made donations to numerous development projects in Thailand, in areas including agriculture, 

environment, public health, occupational promotion, water resources, communications and public welfare. 


Commemoration of Bhumibol's contributions to Thailand are ubiquitous in the Thai media. 

Early life 

He was born at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, in the United States on 5 December 
1927. He was the younger son of HRH Prince Mahidol 
Adulyadej and Mom Sangwan (later HRH Princess 
Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother: Somdet Phra Si 
Nakharinthra Boromaratchachonnani). His name, Bhumibol 
Adulyadej, means "Strength of the Land, Incomparable 
Power". His father was enrolled in the Public Health 
program at Harvard University, hence his unusual place of 
birth for a monarch. 

He came to Thailand in 1928, after Prince Mahidol obtained 

a certificate from Harvard. He briefly attended Mater Dei 

school in Bangkok but in 1933 his mother took the family to 

Switzerland, where he continued his education at the Ecole Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande in Lausanne. He 

received the baccalaureat des lettres (high-school diploma with major in French literature, Latin, and Greek) from 

the Gymnase Classique Cantonal of Lausanne, and by 1945 had begun studying science at the University of 

Bhumibol (centre) with his mother and siblings Ananda 
Mahidol (left) and Galyani Vadhana (right). 

Lausanne, when World War II ended and the family returned to Thailand 


Succession and marriage 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


Thai Royal Family 

HM The King 

HM The Queen 

• HRH The Crown Prince 
HRH Princess Srirasmi 

• HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha 

• HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana 

• HRH Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti 

• HRH The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn 

• HRH The Princess Chulabhorn Walailak 

• HRH Princess Siribhachudhabhorn 

• HRH Princess Adityadhornkitikhun 

• Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya 

• Lady Ploypailin Jensen 

• Lady Sirikitiya Jensen 

• HRH Princess Soamsawali 

Lady Dasanavalaya Sorasongkram 

If *" ri 




Bhumibol ascended the throne following the death by 

gunshot wound of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, on 9 

n ri 
June 1946, in mysterious circumstances. Bhumibol 

returned to Switzerland in order to complete his education, 

and his uncle, Rangsit, Prince of Chainat, was appointed 

Prince Regent. Bhumibol then switched over his field of 

study to law and political science. 

While finishing his degree in Switzerland, Bhumibol visited 
Paris frequently. It was in Paris that he first met Mom 
Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara, daughter of the Thai 

ambassador to France 


Bhumibol and Sirikit after their wedding. 

On 4 October 1948, while Bhumibol was driving a Fiat 
Topolino on the Geneva-Lausanne road, he collided with 
the rear of a braking truck 10 km outside of Lausanne. He hurt his back and incurred cuts on his face that cost him 
the sight of his right eye. While he was hospitalised in Lausanne, Sirikit visited him frequently. She met his 

mother, who asked her to continue her studies nearby so that Bhumibol could get to know her better. Bhumibol 
selected for her a boarding school in Lausanne, Riante Rive. A quiet engagement in Lausanne followed on 19 July 
1949, and the couple were married on 28 April 1950, just a week before his coronation. 

Bhumibol and his wife Queen Sirikit have four children: 

• (Formerly HRH) Princess Ubol Ratana, bom 5 April 1951 in Lausanne, Switzerland; 

• HRH The Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, born 28 July 1952; 

• HRH The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, born 2 April 1955; 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


• HRH The Princess Chulabhorn Walailak, born 4 July 1957. 

One of Bhumibol's grandchildren, Bhumi Jensen, was killed in the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean 

earthquake. He was the autistic son of Princess Ubol Ratana. 

Coronation and titles 

Bhumibol at his coronation at the Grand Palace. 

Bhumibol was crowned King of Thailand on 5 May 1950 at the 
Royal Palace in Bangkok where he pledged that he would "reign 
with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese 
people" ("ITTCSA'SamW'ufi'uIeiEJSTSJJ 

l,waTj^Tmu?mi,WWVnm4ftni?f£n3r). [23] Notable elements 
associated with the coronation included the Bahadrabith Throne 
beneath the Great White Umbrella of State; and he was presented 

with the royal regalia and utensils 


Bhumibol addresses a joint session of the United 
States Congress in 1960 

In 1950 on Coronation Day, Bhumibol's consort was made Queen 
(Somdej Phra Boromarajini). The date of his coronation is 
celebrated each 5 May in Thailand as Coronation Day, a public 
holiday. On 9 June 2006, Bhumibol celebrated his 60th 
anniversary as the King of Thailand, becoming the longest 
reigning monarch in Thai history. 

Following the death of his grandmother Queen Savang Vadhana, 
Bhumibol entered a 15-day monkhood (22 October 1956 — 5 

November 1956) at Wat Bowonniwet, as is customary for 

Buddhist males on the death of elder relatives. During this 

time, Sirikit was appointed his regent. She was later appointed 

Queen Regent (Somdej Phra Boromarajininat) in recognition of 


Although Bhumibol is sometimes referred to as King Rama IX in 
English, Thais refer to him as Nai Luang or Phra Chao Yu Hua 

v i 

(U4MSnJ or lAl^ma^JVn: both mean "the King" or "Lord Upon 
our Heads"). He is also called Chao Chiwit ("Lord of Life"). 
Formally, he would be referred to as Phrabat Somdej Phra Chao 
Yu Hua (1AI^TJ1V13m(?i:fl1AI<JSma?JVI'3) or, in legal documents, 
Phrabat Somdej Phra Paraminthara Maha Bhumibol 
Adulyadej (1/\l1i£ll1ViefJJI,OT'W1i£llli5l4V11i34Viirj5'Waa6ja£ll,ei?0, 
and in English as His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He signs 
his name as fjSlAI 33513 mem ill (Bhumibol Adulyadej Por Ror; 
this is the Thai equivalent of Bhumibol Adulyadej R[ex]). 

Role in Thai politics 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


Plaek Pibulsonggram era 

Marshal and Mrs. Pibulsonggram with Eleanor 

In the early years of his reign, during the government of military 
dictator Plaek Pibulsonggram, Bhumibol had no real power and 
was little more than a ceremonial figure under the 
military-dominated government. In August 1957, 6 months after 
parliamentary elections, General Sarit Dhanarajata accused the 
government of Field Marshal Pibulsonggram of lese majeste due 
to its conduct of the 2,500th anniversary celebration of 

["27] [71 

Buddhism. On 16 September 1957, Pibulsonggram went to 

ro on 

Bhumibol to seek support for his government. Bhumibol told 

the Field Marshal to resign to avoid a coup; Pibulsonggram 

refused. That evening, Sarit Dhanarajata seized power, and two 

hours later Bhumibol imposed martial law throughout the 

Kingdom. Bhumibol issued a Proclamation appointing Sarit as 

"Military Defender of the Capital" without anyone countersigning 

this Proclamation. It included the following statements 


Whereas it appears that the public administration of the government under the premiership of Field Marshal P. Phibunsonggram is 
untrustworthy, and that it could not maintain the public order, the military, led by Field Marshal Sarit Dhanarajata, has successfully taken over 
the public administration and now acts as the Military Defender of the Capital. I, hereby, appoint Field Marshal Sarit Dhanarajata as the 
Military Defender of the Capital, and command that all the citizens shall remain calm while all the public servants shall serve the orders issued 
by Field Marshal Sarit Dhanarajat. This Proclamation shall come into force immediately. Done this 16th Day of September, Buddhist Era 2500 

Sarit Dhanarajata era 

During Sarit's dictatorship, the monarchy was revitalised. Bhumibol attended public ceremonies, toured the 
provinces and patronised development projects. Under Sarit, the practice of crawling in front of royalty during 
audiences, banned by King Chulalongkorn, was revived in certain situations and the royal-sponsored Thammayut 

Nikaya order was revitalised. For the first time since the absolute monarchy was overthrown, a king was conveyed 

T3 11 T321 
up the Chao Phraya River in a Royal Barge Procession to offer robes at temples. 

Other disused ceremonies from the classical period of the Chakri dynasty, such as the royally-patronised ploughing 
ceremony (Thai: TAISIAI'ffiU-SPlfl), were also revived. Bhumibol's birthday (5 December) was declared the national 


day, replacing the previous national day, the anniversary of the Siamese Revolution of 1932 (24 June). Upon 
Sarit's death in 8 December 1963, an unprecedented 21 days of mourning were declared in the palace. A royal 

five-tier umbrella shaded his body while it lay in state. Long-time royal adviser Phraya Srivisarn Vacha later noted 

that no Prime Minister ever had such an intimate relationship with Bhumibol as Sarit. 

Contemporary thinkers differ in their views about the relationship between Bhumibol and Sarit. Paul Handley, writer 
of The King Never Smiles views Sarit as Bhumibol's tool, whereas political scientist Thak Chaloemtiarana asserts 
that Sarit used Bhumibol in order to build his own credibility. 

Thanom Kittikachorn era and short democratic phase 

Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn was appointed premier a day after Sarit's death in 1963. He continued most of 
Sarit's policies for a decade. In October 1973 after massive protests and the deaths of a large number of 
pro-democracy demonstrators, Bhumibol opened the gates of the Chitralada Palace to fleeing protesters, and held an 
audience with student leaders. Bhumibol subsequently appointed the Thammasat University Rector Sanya 
Dharmasakti as the new Prime Minister, replacing Thanom. Thanom subsequently moved to the United States and 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 130 

Singapore. A succession of civilian governments followed, but the return of Field Marshal Thanom and his 
ordination as a novice monk at Wat Bowonniwet in 1976 led to renewed conflict, culminating in the 6 October 1976 
Massacre at Thammasat University by royalist paramilitary forces. 

Prem Tinsulanond era 

The ensuing chaos was used as a pretext for a military coup. The junta submitted three names to the king to choose 
from to become the next Premier: Deputy President of the king's Privy Council Prakob Hutasingh, right-wing 


Bangkok Governor Thamnoon Thien-ngern, and conservative Supreme Court judge Tanin Kraivixien. Bhumibol 
chose Tanin as the most suitable. However, Tanin proved to be very right-wing himself, causing student protesters to 
flee to join the communists in the jungle. Tanin was himself overthrown in a military coup in October 1977 led by 
General Kriangsak Chomanan. Kriangsak was succeeded in 1980 by the popular Army Commander-in-Chief, 
General Prem Tinsulanond, later the Privy Council President. 

Bhumibol's refusal to endorse military coups in 1981 (the April Fool's Day coup) and 1985 (the Share Rebellion) 
ultimately led to the victory of forces loyal to the government, despite some violence — including in 1981, the seizure 
of Bangkok by rebel forces. The coups led many to believe that Bhumibol had misjudged Thai society and that his 
credibility as an impartial mediator between various political and military factions had been compromised. 

Crisis of 1992 

In 1992, Bhumibol played a key role in Thailand's transition to a democratic system. A coup on 23 February 1991 
returned Thailand back under military dictatorship. After a general election in 1992, the majority parties invited 
General Suchinda Kraprayoon, a leader of the coup group, to be the Prime Minister. This caused much dissent, 
which escalated into demonstrations that led to a large number of deaths when the military was brought in to control 
the protesters. The situation became increasingly critical as police and military forces clashed with the protesters. 
Violence and riot spread out in many areas of the capital with rumours of a rift among the armed forces. 

Amidst the fear of civil war, Bhumibol intervened. He summoned Suchinda and the leader of the pro-democracy 
movement, retired Major General Chamlong Srimuang, to a televised audience, urged them to find a peaceful 
resolution. At the height of the crisis, the sight of both men appearing together on their knees (in accordance with 
royal protocol) made a strong impression on the nation, and led to Suchinda's resignation soon afterwards. 

It was one of the few occasions in which Bhumibol directly and publicly intervened in a political conflict. A general 
election was held shortly afterward, leading to a civilian government. 

2003 War on Drugs 

In his 4 December 2002 speech on the eve of his birthday, King 

Bhumibol spoke about the rise in drug use, the high social costs 

and deaths caused by drugs, and called for a "War on Drugs.' 

Privy Councillor General Phichit Kunlawanit called on the 

Thaksin Shinawatra government to use its majority in parliament 

to establish a special court to deal with drug dealers, stating that "if 

we execute 60,000 the land will rise and our descendants will 

escape bad karma". 

On 14 January 2003, Thaksin launched a campaign to rid "every 
square inch of the country" of drugs. His War on Drugs 
campaign consisted of setting provincial arrest and seizure targets including "blacklists", awarding government 

officials for achieving targets and threatening punishment for those who failed to make the quota, targeting dealers, 
and "ruthless" implementation. In the first three months, Human Rights Watch reported that 2,275 people were 

With then President Vladimir Putin in Bangkok on 22 
October 2003. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 131 

killed, almost double the number normally killed in drug-related violence. Human rights critics claimed a large 

[48] [49] 

number were extrajudicially executed. The War on Drugs was widely criticized by the international 

•, [50] 

According to the Narcotics Control Board, the campaign was effective in reducing drug consumption, especially in 
schools. The War on Drugs was one of the most popular policies of the Thaksin government. Bhumibol, in a 
2003 birthday speech, praised Thaksin and criticized those who counted only dead drug dealers while ignoring 
deaths caused by drugs. 

'lamTH^m^a-armiJri'Li'kmi lawweiti fmtlinij usn nvi itn en vmuarm ta^j A-uena m is,csroo 
mi at. tiiuu iln is,£oo mi m irmm \a 1<?i vh irmm \a \® vh vind n q® \i ut. Suinrm 
13,^00 Pivffiona" 

"Victory in the War on Drugs is good. They may blame the crackdown for more than 2,500 deaths, but this is a 
small price to pay. If the prime minister failed to curb [the drug trade], over the years the number of deaths 
would easily surpass this toll. 


Bhumibol also asked the commander of the police to investigate the killings. Police Commander Sant Sarutanond 
reopened investigations into the deaths, and again claimed that few of the deaths were at the hands of the police. 

After the 2006 coup, the military junta appointed a committee led by former Attorney General Kanit Na Nakorn to 
investigate deaths in the War on Drugs. The committee found no evidence linking Thaksin or members of his 
government to any extrajudicial killings. However, critics claimed that the true findings of the committee were 

While he was opposition leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva accused Thaksin of crimes against humanity for the War on 
Drugs. After he became Prime Minister, Abhisit opened an investigation led by former attorney-general Kampee 
Kaewcharoen, claiming that a successful probe could lead to prosecution by the International Criminal 
Court. As of the August 201 1 parliamentary elections, Abhisit's investigation failed to find or publicize any 

evidence linking Thaksin or members of his Government to any extrajudicial killings. 

Crisis of 2005-2006 and the September 2006 coup 

Background to the coup 

Weeks before the April 2006 legislative election, the Democrat Party-led opposition and the People's Alliance for 
Democracy petitioned Bhumibol to appoint a replacement prime minister and cabinet. Demands for royal 
intervention met with much criticism from the public. Bhumibol, in a speech on 26 April 2006, responded, 'Asking 
for a Royally-appointed prime minister is undemocratic. It is, pardon me, a mess. It is irrational". 

After publicly claiming victory in the boycotted April parliamentary elections, Thaksin Shinawatra had a private 
audience with the king. A few hours later, Thaksin appeared on national television to announce that he would be 
taking a break from politics. 

In May 2006, the Sondhi Limthongkul-owned Manager Daily newspaper published a series of articles describing the 
"Finland Plot", alleging that Thaksin and former members of the Communist Party of Thailand planned to overthrow 
the king and seize control of the nation. No evidence was ever produced to verify the existence of such a plot, and 
Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai party vehemently denied the accusations and sued the accusers. 

In a rare, televised speech to senior judges, Bhumibol requested the judiciary to take action to resolve the political 

crisis. On 8 May 2006, the Constitutional Court invalidated the results of the April elections and ordered new 

elections scheduled for 15 October 2006. The Criminal Court later jailed the Election Commissioners. 

On 14 July 2006, Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda addressed graduating cadets of the Chulachomklao 
Royal Military Academy, telling them that the Thai military must serve the King — not the Government. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 132 

On 20 July, Bhumibol signed a royal decree endorsing new House elections for 15 October 2006. In an 
unprecedented act, the King wrote a note on the royal decree calling for a clean and fair election. That very day, 
Bhumibol underwent spinal surgery. 

The coup 

In the evening of 19 September, the Thai military overthrew the Thaksin government and seized control of Bangkok 
in a bloodless coup. The junta, led by the Sonthi Boonyaratglin, Commander of the Army, called itself the Council 
for Democratic Reform under the Constitutional Monarchy, accused the deposed prime minister and his regime of 
many crimes, including lese majeste, and pledged its loyalty to Bhumibol. Martial law was declared, the Constitution 
repealed and the October elections cancelled. Protests and political meetings were banned. On 20 September, 
Bhumibol endorsed the coup, and ordered civil servants to take orders from Sonthi. 

The King's role in the coup was the subject of much speculation among Thai analysts and the international media, 
although publication of such speculation was banned in Thailand. The King had an audience with Privy Council 
President Prem Tinsulanonda at the same time as the First Special Forces were ordered mobilised. Anti-coup 
protesters claimed that Prem was a key mastermind of the coup, although the military claimed otherwise and banned 
any discussion of the topic. In a BBC interview, Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Chulalongkorn University noted, "This 
coup was nothing short of Thaksin versus the King... He is widely seen as having implicitly endorsed the coup." In 
the same interview, social critic Sulak Sivaraksa claimed, "Without his involvement, the coup would have been 
impossible." Sulak added that the King is "very skillful. He never becomes obviously involved. If this coup goes 
wrong, Sonthi will get the blame, but whatever happens, the King will only get praise." On Saturday 23 
September 2006, the junta warned they would "urgently retaliate against foreign reporters whose coverage has been 
deemed insulting to the monarchy." The President of Bhumibol's Privy Council, General Prem Tinsulanonda, 
supported the coup. The junta later appointed Privy Council member General Surayud Chulanont as Prime Minister. 

On 20 April 2009, Thaksin claimed in an interview with the Financial Times that Bhumibol had been briefed by 
Privy Councillors Prem Tinsulanonda and Surayud Chulanont about their plans to stage the 2006 coup. He claimed 
that General Panlop Pinmanee, a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, had told him of the briefing. 
The Thai embassy in London denied Thaksin's claims. 

After the coup 

The junta appointed a Constitutional Tribunal to rule on the alleged poll fraud cases concerning the Thai Rak Thai 
and Democrat political parties. Guilty rulings would have dissolved both parties, Thailand's largest and oldest, 
respectively, and banned the parties' leadership from politics for five years. The weeks leading up to the verdicts saw 
rising political tensions. On 24 May 2007, about a week before the scheduled verdict, Bhumibol gave a rare speech 
to the Supreme Administrative Court (the President of which is also a member of the Constitutional Tribunal). "You 
have the responsibility to prevent the country from collapsing," he warned them in the speech, which was shown on 
all national television channels simultaneously during the evening. "The nation needs political parties.... In my mind, 
I have a judgment but I cannot say," he said. "Either way the ruling goes, it will be bad for the country, there will be 

[7 n [72] [73] 

mistakes." The Tribunal later acquitted the Democrat Party but dissolved the Thai Rak Thai party and 

banned 1 1 1 of its executives from politics for five years. 

The junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Assembly later tried to use the King in a propaganda campaign to increase 
public support for its widely criticised draft constitution. The CDA placed billboards saying, "Love the King. Care 

about the King. Vote in the referendum, throughout the Northeast of Thailand, where opposition to the junta was 

* * t 74 l 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 133 

2008 crisis 

The military's constitution passed the referendum, and general election was held in December 2007. The People's 

Power Party, consisting of many former Thai Rak Thai Party MPs and supporters, won the majority and formed a 

government. The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) refused to accept the election results and started 

protests, eventually laying siege to Government House, Don Muang Airport, and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Although 

the PAD claimed they were defending the monarchy, Bhumibol remained silent. However, after a PAD supporter 

died in a clash with police, Queen Sirikit presided over her cremation. Princess Sirindhorn, when asked at a US press 

conference whether the PAD was acting on behalf of the monarchy, replied, "I don't think so. They do things for 

themselves." Questioning and criticism over Bhumibol's role in the crisis increased, particularly from the 

international press. "It is more and more difficult for them to hold the illusion that the 

monarchy is universally adored," says a Thai academic. 

In April 2008, Bhumibol appointed alleged coup plotter General Surayud Chulanont to Privy Council of Thailand. In 
the weeks leading up to 2011 general election, Bhumibol appointed Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pukbhasuk, a leader of 


the 2006 military coup, to his Privy Council. 

Bhumibol was admitted to Siriraj Hospital in September 2009 for flu and pneumonia. Rumors about his ill-health 

_ TR71 

caused Thai financial markets to tumble in October 2009. 

Royal powers 
Constitutional powers 

For a historical perspective on how Bhumibol's constitutional powers have changed over time, see the 
Constitutions of Thailand article 

Bhumibol retains enormous powers, partly because of his immense popularity and partly because his powers — 
although clearly defined in the Thai constitution — are often subject to conflicting interpretations. This was 
highlighted by the controversy surrounding the appointment of Jaruvan Maintaka as Auditor-General. Jaruvavn had 
been appointed by The State Audit Commission. However, the Constitutional Court ruled in July 2004 that her 
appointment was unconstitutional. Jaruvan refused to vacate her office without an explicit order from Bhumibol, on 
the grounds that she had previously been royally approved. When the Senate elected a replacement for Jaruvan, 

roe] roQ] 

Bhumibol refused to approve him. The Senate declined to vote to override Bhumibol's veto. Finally in 
February 2006 the Audit Commission reinstated Jaruvan when it became clear from a memo from the Office of the 
King's Principal Private Secretary that King Bhumibol supported her appointment. 

Bhumibol has vetoed legislation very rarely. In 1976, when the Parliament voted 149—19 to extend democratic 
elections down to district levels, Bhumibol refused to sign the law. The Parliament refused to vote to overturn the 
King's veto. In 1954, Bhumibol vetoed parliamentary-approved land reform legislation twice before consenting to 
sign it. The law limited the maximum land an individual could hold to 50 rai (80000 square metres (unknown 
operator: u'strong' sq ft)), at a time when the Crown Property Bureau was the Kingdom's largest land-owner. The 
law was not enforced as General Sarit soon overthrew the elected government in a coup and repealed the law. 

Bhumibol has the constitutional prerogative to pardon criminals, although there are several criteria for receiving a 

pardon, including age and remaining sentence. The 2006 pardoning of several convicted paedophiles, including an 

[92] [931 [94] 
Australian rapist and child pornographer, caused controversy. However under the Thailand Constitution, 

the King has the prerogative to grant a pardon and all laws, Royal Prescripts and Royal Commands relating to State 

affairs must be countersigned by a Minister unless otherwise provided in this Constitution. The pardon list is created 

and proposed by the government official, which was under the Shinawatra's 2006 government. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


Network monarchy and extraconstitutional powers 

Several academics outside of Thailand, including Duncan McCargo 
and Federico Ferrara have noted the active political involvement of 
Bhumibol through a "network monarchy," whose most significant 
proxy is Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanond. McCargo claimed 
that Bhumibol's deeply conservative network worked behind the scenes 
to establish political influence in the 1990s, but was deeply threatened 
by the landslide election victories of Thaksin Shinawatra in 2001 and 
2005. Ferrara claimed, shortly before the Thai Supreme Court 
delivered its verdict to seize Thaksin Shinawatra's assets, that the 
judiciary was a well-established part of Bhumibol's network and 
represented his main avenue to exercise extra-constitutional 
prerogatives despite having the appearance of being constitutional. He 
also noted how, in comparison to the Constitutional Court's 2001 
acquittal of Thaksin, the judiciary was a much more important part of 
the "network" than it was in the past. 


City decoration in observance of King 
Bhumibol's birthday in Phitsanulok, Thailand 

The networks ability to exercise power is based partly on Bhumibol's 
popularity and strict control of Bhumibol's popular image. Bhumibol's 

popularity was demonstrated following the 2003 Phnom Penh riots in Cambodia, when hundreds of Thai protesters, 
enraged by rumors that Cambodian rioters had stomped on photographs of Bhumibol, gathered outside the 
Cambodian embassy in Bangkok. Photographs of the stomping were not published in Thailand, but were available 
on the internet. The situation was resolved peacefully only when Police General Sant Sarutanonda told the crowd 
that he had received a call from royal secretary Arsa Sarasin conveying Bhumibol's request for calm. The crowd 


Royal projects 


The development of the country must be fostered in stages. It 
must start with the construction of infrastructure, that is, the 
provision of food and basic necessities for the people by 
methods which are economic, cautious and conforming with 
principles. Once the foundation is firmly established, progress 
can be continually, carefully and economically promoted. This 
approach will prevent incurring mistakes and failures, and lead 
to the certain and complete achievement of the objectives. 

— Bhumibol's speech at Kasetsart University Commencement 
Ceremony on 19 July 1974. [98] 

Bhumibol has been involved in many social and economic development projects. The nature of his involvement has 
varied by political regime. 

The government of Plaek Pibulsonggram (1951—1957) limited Bhumibol to a ceremonial role. During that period 
Bhumibol produced some films and operated a radio station from Chitlada Palace using his own personal funds. 

In the military governments of Sarit Dhanarajata and his successors (1958—1980), Bhumibol was re-portrayed as the 
"Development King" and the inspiration of the economic and political goals of the regime. Royally-ordered projects 

Bhumibol Dam 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


were implemented under the financial and political support of the government, including projects in rural areas and 
communities under the influence of the Communist Party of Thailand. Bhumibol's visits to these projects were 
heavily promoted by the Sarit government and broadcast on the state-controlled media. 

During the governments of General Prem Tinsulanond (1981—1987), the relationship between the Thai state and the 
monarch was at its closest. Prem, later to become President of Bhumibol's Privy Council, officially allocated 
government budgets and manpower to support royal projects. Most activities in this period involved the development 
of large scale irrigation projects in rural areas. 

During the modern period (post-1988), the structured development of the Royal Projects reached its apex. 
Bhumibol's Chaipattana Foundation was established, promoting his "sufficiency economy" theory, an alternative to 
the export-oriented policies adopted by the period's elected governments. Following the 2006 coup, establishment of 
a "sufficiency economy" was enshrined in the constitution as being a primary goal of the government, and 
government financial support for royal projects boomed. 

Example projects 

• Rama VIII Bridge. Suggested by Bhumibol, funded by the government 

• Huai Ongkod land reform project, Kanchanaburi province. Suggested by Bhumibol, using government-owned 

• Royal Medical Team. Bhumibol's private physicians accompanying him on village tours were encouraged to 
provide medical care for local residents. In addition, the Royal Household sends letters of support to physicians 

who volunteer to serve in hospitals in provinces where royal palaces are situated 



Bhumibol has received numerous royal and 
state orders as befitting of his stature. In 
addition, the king was awarded the William 
J. Donovan Medal, Award of Friendship 
OSS, New York, U.S.A.presented by the 
Office of Strategic Services (soon to be 

CIA) on 29 October 1987 


Bhumibol, who serves as head of The 

National Scout Organization of Thailand, 

was presented the Bronze Wolf award on 20 

June 2006, the highest award of the World 

Organization of the Scout Movement, for 

his support and development of Scouting in 

Thailand by Carl XVI Gustaf, King of 

Sweden and Honorary President of the 

World Scout Foundation. The presentation took place at Chitralada Palace in Thailand and was witnessed by 

Chairman of the World Scout Committee Herman Hui. 

In May 2006, UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, presented the United Nations' first and only Human Development 

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Queen Sirikit and 
Mamie Eisenhower at the White House in June 1960. 

Lifetime Achievement Award to Bhumibol 



Bhumibol set a world record for receiving the greatest number of honorary university degrees (136) in 1997. 
Most of his degrees came from Thai universities: for instance, Kasetsart University awarded him ten honorary 
doctoral degrees at once. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


60th Anniversary celebrations 

Also called the Diamond Jubilee, the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty the King's Accession to the 
Throne were a series of events marking Bhumibol's reign. Events included the royal barge procession on the Chao 
Phraya River, fireworks displays, art exhibitions, pardoning 25,000 prisoners, concerts and dance performances. 

Tied in with the anniversary, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented Bhumibol with the United 
Nations Development Programme's first Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award on 26 May 2006. 
National holidays were on 9 June and 12—13 June 2006. On 9 June, the King and Queen appeared on the balcony of 
Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall before hundreds of thousands of people. The official royal barge procession on 12 
June was attended by the King and Queen and royal visitors from 26 other countries. On 13 June, a state banquet for 
the royal visitors was held in the newly constructed Rama IX Throne Hall at the Grand Palace, the first official 
function for the hall. The Chiang Mai Royal Flora Expo was also held to honour the anniversary. 

On 16 January 2007, the CDRM officially declared the end of the 60th anniversary celebrations and commenced 
year-long celebrations of Bhumibol's 80th birthday. 

Private life 

Monarchs of 

the Chakri 



Buddha Yodfa 
(King Rama I) 

Buddha Loetla Nabhalai 
(King Rama II) 


(King Rama III) 

(King Rama IV) 


(King Rama V) 

(King Rama VI) 


(King Rama VII) 


Ananda Mahidol 
(King Rama VIII) 


Bhumibol Adulyadej 
(King Rama IX) 

Bhumibol is a painter, musician, photographer, author and translator. His book Phra Mahachanok is based on a 
traditional Jataka story of Buddhist scripture. The Story of Thong Daeng is the story of his dog Thong Daeng 


In his youth, Bhumibol was greatly interested in firearms. He kept a carbine, a Sten gun, and two automatic pistols in 
his bedroom, and he and his elder brother, King Ananda Mahidol, often used the gardens of the palace for target 

There are two English language books that provide extensive detail — albeit not always verifiable — about Bhumibol's 
life, especially his early years and then throughout his entire reign. One is The Revolutionary King by William 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 137 

Stevenson, the other is The King Never Smiles by Paul M. Handley. A third and earlier work, The Devil's Discus, is 
also available in Thai and English. All three books are banned in Thailand. 

Bhumibol's creativity in, among other things, music, art, and invention, was the focus of a 2 minute long 
documentary created by the government of Abhibisit Vejjajiva that was screened at all branches of the Major 
Cineplex Group and SF Cinema City, the two largest cinema chains in Thailand. 


Bhumibol suffers from lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the canal that contains the spinal cord and nerve roots, 

which results in back and leg pain and numbness in the legs. He received a microsurgical decompression in July 
2006 [109][110] 

Bhumibol was taken to Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital on 13 October 2007, complaining he felt weak down his right 
side; doctors later found out through scans that he had a blood shortage to his brain. He was discharged on 7 
November 2007. [112] 

On 19 September 2009, he was once again admitted to Siriraj Hospital, apparently with the flu and pneumonia. US 
diplomatic cables from 2009, published by Wikileaks in 2011, reported that the king is suffering from Parkinson's 
disease and depression. His youngest daughter HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak confirmed in an April 2011 
television interview that the king remains in the hospital. 

On 17 November 2011, Bhumibol was diagnosed with diverticulitis while being confined in Siriraj Hospital. He is 
also forced to remain in fast until the disease is cured, tl 
received further treatment for the condition in January 2012. 

also forced to remain in fast until the disease is cured, the Bureau of the Royal Household announced. He 


Bhumibol is an accomplished jazz musician and composer, particularly for his works on the alto saxophone. He was 
the first Asian composer awarded honorary membership of the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna at 
the age of 32. He used to play jazz music on air on the Or Sor radio station. In his travels, he has played with 
such jazz legends as Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Lionel Hampton, Maynard Ferguson, and Preservation Hall 
Jazz Band. His songs can often be heard at social gatherings and concerts. In 2003, the University of North Texas 
College of Music awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Music. The king's abilities as a jazz musician were 
mentioned by Aunt Jenny (Imogene Coca) in an episode of The Brady Bunch titled "Jan's Aunt Jenny", which 
originally aired on 21 January 1972. 


Bhumibol is an accomplished sailor and sailboat designer. He won a gold medal for sailing in the Fourth 

Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games in 1967, together with HRH Princess Ubol Ratana whom he tied for 
points. This accomplishment is all the more remarkable given Bhumibol's lack of binocular depth perception. 
Bhumibol has also sailed the Gulf of Thailand from Hua Hin to Toey Harbour in Sattahip, covering 60 nautical miles 
(unknown operator: u'strong 1 km) in a 14-hour journey on the "Vega 1," an OK Class dinghy he built. 

Like his father, a former military naval engineer, Bhumibol was an avid boat designer and builder. He produced 
several small sail-boat designs in the International Enterprise, OK, and Moth Classes. His designs in the Moth class 
include the "Mod," "Super Mod," and "Micro Mod." 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 138 


[1211 [1221 

Bhumibol is the only Thai monarch to hold a patent. He obtained one in 1993 for a waste water aerator 

named "Chai Pattana", and several patents on rainmaking since 1955: the "sandwich" rainmaking patent in 1999 and 
lately the "supersandwich" patent in 2 003. [123][124][125] 


Estimates of the post-devaluation (circa 1997—1998) wealth of the royal household range from 10 billion to 20 
billion USD. In August 2008, Forbes came out with its 2008 version of The World's Richest Royals. King 
Bhumibol took first place on the list with an estimated wealth of $35 billion. A few days later the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs of Thailand issued a statement that the Forbes report erred in attributing wealth owned by the Crown 


Property Bureau (CPB) solely to Bhumibol. In the 2009 version of its list, Forbes acknowledged the 

government's objections, but justified the continued inclusion of the CPB's assets on the ground that Bhumibol was 
its trustee. The 2009 estimate was down to $30 billion due to declines in real estate and stocks. 

The wealth and properties of Bhumibol and the royal family are managed by the Crown Property Bureau and the 
Privy Purse. The CPB was established by law but is managed independently of the Thai Government and reports 
only to Bhumibol. 

Through the CPB, Bhumibol and the royal family own land and equity in many companies and massive amounts of 
land, including 3,493 acres in Bangkok. The CPB is the majority shareholder of Siam Cement (the largest Thai 
industrial conglomerate), Christiani & Nielsen (one of the largest Thai construction firms), Deves Insurance (which 
holds a monopoly on government property insurance and contract insurance), Siam Commercial Bank (one of the 
largest Thai banks), and Shin Corporation (a major Thai telecommunications firm, through the CPB's holdings in 
Siam Commercial Bank). The CPB also rents or leases about 36,000 properties to third parties, including the sites of 
the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, Siam Paragon and the Central World Tower. The 
CPB spearheaded a plan to turn Bangkok's historical Rajadamnoen Avenue into a shopping street known as the 
"Champs-Elysees of Asia" and in 2007, shocked longtime residents of traditional marketplace districts by serving 
them with eviction notices. Bhumibol's substantial income from the CPB, estimated to be at least five billion 


baht in 2004 alone, is exempt from taxes. The CPB receives many state privileges. Although the Ministry of 

Finance technically runs the CPB, decisions are made solely by Bhumibol. The CPB's annual report is for the eye of 
Bhumibol alone; the annual report is not released to the public. 

In addition, Bhumibol has numerous personal investments independent of the CPB. He is personally the majority 


shareholder of the Thai Insurance Company and Sammakorn, as well as many other companies. He currently 
holds 30% in Siam Cement, and 20% in the Siam Commercial Bank. 

The CPB has a fleet of three aircraft for the use of the royal family, including a Boeing 737-800 and an Airbus A3 19. 
The newer Airbus had been purchased by the Thaksin Shinawatra government for government use, but after the 2006 
coup, the junta offered it to the king. The other planes are used by members of the royal family. 


Among other vehicles, Bhumibol owns two custom-built stretch limousines from LCW Automotive Corp. The 
Golden Jubilee Diamond, the largest faceted diamond in the world, was given to him by businessman Henry Ho. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


Lese majeste 

Although Bhumibol is held in great respect by many Thais, he is also protected by lese majeste laws which allow 

n 3Ri 
critics to be jailed for three to fifteen years. The laws were toughened during the dictatorship of royalist Premier 

Tanin Kraivixien, such that criticism of any member of the royal family, the royal development projects, the royal 

institution, the Chakri Dynasty, or any previous Thai King was also banned. 

During his 2005 birthday speech, Bhumibol invited criticism: "Actually, I must also be criticised. I am not afraid if 
the criticism concerns what I do wrong, because then I know. Because if you say the king cannot be criticised, it 
means that the king is not human", he claimed. "If the king can do no wrong, it is akin to looking down upon him 


because the king is not being treated as a human being. But the king can do wrong." A widespread barrage of 
criticisms resulted, followed by a sharp rise in lese majeste prosecutions. Lese majeste cases rose from five or six a 

year pre-2005 to 478 in 2010 



American journalist Paul Handley, who spent thirteen years in Thailand, wrote the biography The King Never Smiles. 
The Information and Communications Ministry banned the book and blocked the book's page on the Yale University 
Press website in January 2006. In a statement dated 19 January 2006, Thai National Police Chief General Kowit 
Wattana said the book has "contents which could affect national security and the good morality of the people." 
The book provides a detailed discussion of Bhumibol's role in Thai political history and also analyzes the factors 
behind Bhumibol's popularity. 

William Stevenson, who had access to the Royal Court and the Royal Family, wrote the biography The 
Revolutionary King in 2001. An article in Time says the idea for the book was suggested by Bhumibol. 
Critics noted that the book displays intimate knowledge about personal aspects of Bhumibol. However, the book has 
been unofficially banned in Thailand and the Bureau of the Royal Household warned the Thai media about even 
referring to it in print. An official ban was not possible as it was written with Bhumibol's blessing. The book has 
been criticised for factual inaccuracies, disrespecting Bhumibol (it refers to him by his personal nickname "Lek"), 
and proposing a controversial theory explaining the death of King Ananda. Stevenson said, "The king said from the 

beginning the book would be dangerous for him and for me 


Succession to the throne 

Bhumibol's only son, Prince Vajiralongkorn, was given the title 
"Somdej Phra Boroma Orasadhiraj Chao Fah Maha 
Vajiralongkorn Sayam Makutrajakuman" (Crown Prince of Siam) 
on 28 December 1972 and made heir apparent (aJPITavnEnvl) to 
the throne in accordance with the Palace Law on Succession of 



On 5 December 1977, Princess Sirindhorn was given the title 
"Siam Boromrajakumari" (Princess Royal of Siam). Her title is 
often translated by the English-language press as "Crown 
Princess", although her official English-language title is simply 



The King's royal cypher and personal flag. 

Although the constitution was later amended to allow the Privy Council to appoint a princess as successor to the 
throne, this would only occur in the absence of an heir apparent. This amendment is retained in Section 23 of the 
1997 "People's Constitution." This effectively allowed Princess Sirindhorn to potentially be second in line to the 
throne, but did not affect Prince Vajiralongkorn's status as heir apparent. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 


Recent constitutions of Thailand have made the amendment of the Palace Law of Succession the sole prerogative of 
the reigning king. According to Gothom Aryan, former election commissioner, this allows the reigning king, if he so 

chooses, to appoint his son or any of his daughters to the throne 


Titles and styles 

Monarchical styles of 

King Bhumibol 


Rama IX of 


Reference style His Majesty 

Spoken style Your Majesty 

Alternative style Sir 

King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Thai full title is "Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej 
Mahitalathibet Ramathibodi Chakkrinaruebodin Sayamminthrathirat Borommanatbophit" (Thai: 

wtsijnviawi.^'wiisiJ'sS'uviiijjvinriSwaapjfiEJi.PiB wMwantJitiflTrMnthjIi qnTuqufrnvn smJmviriLrn'H 

TJ^JJ'UTn'LnAKFl^; listen), which is referred to in the chief legal documents; and in general documents, the title is 
shorthened to "Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej Sayamminthrathirat 
Borommanatbophit" or just "Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej. " 

The literal translation of the title is as follows 


• Phra — a third person pronoun referring to the person with much higher status than the speaker, meaning 
"excellent" in general. The word is from Sanskrit vara ("excellent"). 

• Bat — "foot," from Sanskrit pada. 

• Somdet — "lord," from Khmer "samdech" ("excellency"). 

• Poraminthara — "the great," from Sanskrit parama ("great") + indra ("leader") 

• Maha — "great," from Sanskrit, "maha" 

• Bhumibol — "Strength of the Land," from Sanskrit bhumi ("land") +bala ("strength") 

• Adulyadej — "Incomparable power," from Sanskrit atulya ("incomparable") +teja ("power") 

• Mahitalathibet — "Son of Mahidol" 

• Ramathibodi — "Rama, the Avatar of God Vishnu to become the great ruler"; from Sanskrit rama + adhi ("great") 
+ patT ("president") 

• Chakkrinaruebodin — "Leader of the People who is from the House of Chakri", from Sanskrit Cakri + nari 
("men") + pati ("president") 

• Sayamminthrathirat — "the Great King of Siam," from Sanskrit Siam (former name of Thailand) + indra + ati 
("great") + raja ("king) 

• Borommanatbophit — "the Royalty who is the Great Shelter", from Sanskrit parama ("great") + nadha ("the one 
who others can depend on" or "Power/Right") + "pavitra" ("royalty") 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 141 


[I] "A Royal Occasion speeches" (http://web.archive.Org/web/20060512194220/ 
Journal. Worldhop. 1996. Archived from the original ( on 12 May 2006. . 
Retrieved 5 July 2006. 

[2] Doherty, Ben (15 October 2009). "Fears for Thai monarch set stockmarket tumbling for second day" ( 

2009/oct/15/thailand-bhumibol-stockmarket-sickness). The Guardian (London). . Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
[3] Aphornsuvan, Thanet (2004), "Bhumibol Adulyadej" (http://books. google. 


respected&f=false), Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, From Angkor Wat to East Timor (ABC-CLIO): p. 232, 
[4] Nimanandh, Kongphu; Andrews, Tim G. (2009), "Socio-cultural context" (http://books. google. 


q=bhumibol respected&f=false), The Changing Face of Management in Thailand (Taylor & Francis): p. 73, 
[5] "Why Thailand's king is so revered" ( News. UK: BBC. 5 December 2007. 

. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
[6] Handley, Paul M. (2006). The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press, pp. 136-137. ISBN 0-300-10682-3. 
[7] Thak Chaloemtiarana (1979). Thailand: The Politics of Despotic Paternalism. Social Science Association of Thailand, p. 98. 
[8] "Royal Birthday Address: 'King Can Do Wrong'" ( 

html). National Media. 5 December 2005. . Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
[9] Declaration on Crown Property and Royal Assets (http://www.mfa.go. th/web/200.php?id=2055 1), TH: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 

August 2008, . 
[10] Serafin, Tatiana (17 June 2009). "The World's Richest Royals" ( 

monarchs-wealth-scandal-business-billionaires-richest-royals.html). Forbes. . 

[II] Tatiana Serafin, " The world's richest royals ( 
richest-royals-wealth-monarch-wedding-divorce-billionaire_2.html)", Forbes, 7 July 2010. 

[12] The Crown Property Bureau — Youth Development ( Archived (http://www. 10 August 2011 atWebCite 
[13] Some information about HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej ( Archived ( 

1312942386392887) 10 August 2011 atWebCite 
[14] Channel News Asia, Thais celebrate Queen's birthday as govt investigates monarchy threat ( 

southeastasia/view/1074777/l/.html), 12 August 
[15] "Biography of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej" ( . 
[16] Wimuttanon, Suvit (ed.) (2001). Amazing Thailand (special collector's edition). World Class Publishing, p. 33. ISBN 974-91020-3-7. 
[17] "Biography of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej" ( The Golden Jubilee 

Network. Kanchanapisek Network. 1999. . Retrieved 5 August 2006. 
[18] Handley, Paul M (2006). The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press, pp. 78-9. ISBN 0-300-10682-3. 
[19] Bhirom Bhakdi, Soravij. "Queens of the Chakri Dynasty" ( . Retrieved 1 August 2006. 
[20] "The Making of a Monarch" ( Bangkok Post. 5 December 2005. . 

Retrieved 12 July 2006. 
[21] Handley, Paul M (2006). The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press, p. 104. ISBN 0-300-10682-3. 

[22] "Khun Poom Jensen, Son of Princess Ubolratana" ( . Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
[23] "Royal Power Controversy" ( . Retrieved 4 January 2007. 
[24] Royal Regalia and Royal Utensils of Siam ( + images 
[25] "Thailand Monarchy" ( Thailand Travel and 

Tours. 2006. . Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
[26] Head, Jonathan. Why Thailand's king is so revered (, BBC News, 5 December 

2007. Accessed 1 1 May 2008. 
[27] Handley, Paul M. (2006). The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press, pp. 129-130, 136-137. ISBN 0-300-10682-3. 
[28] Suwannathat-Pian, Kobkua (1995). Thailand's Durable Premier. Oxford University Press, p. 30. ISBN 967-65-3053-0. 
[29] "The Proclamation Imposing Martial Law throughout the Kingdom". The Government Gazette of Thailand 74 (76). 16 September 1957. 
[30] "The Proclamation Appointing the Military Defender" ( A/076/1. PDF). The 

Government Gazette of Thailand 74 (76). 16 September 1957. . 
[31] Evans, Dr. Grant; citing Christine Gray (1998). "The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance: Laos since 1975" ( 

fa-ngum/ewans.htm). . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[32] Evans, Dr. Grant (1998). The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance: Laos since 1975. University of Hawaii Press, pp. 89—1 13. 

ISBN 0-8248-2054-1. 
[33] Klinkajorn, Karin. "Creativity and Settings of Monuments and Sites in Thailand: Conflicts and Resolution" (http://www. international. (PDF). International Council on Monuments and Sites. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 142 

[34] il'5smHaTun'ui£in , ?s}j'u(?i1 ila-a 1vifiaTui«^^n«ajjri« ii3ufui,aaijaaa<itia<iinei'lviej ( 

DATA/PDF/2503/D/043/1452.PDF), inftfrniiaiiriiri lajJ 77 ®tlV, 43 24 wqwrnfuj 2503 mil 1452 
[35] Thongthong Chandrangsu, A Constitutional Legal Aspect of the King's Prerogatives (M.A. thesis) Chulalongkorn University, 1986, page 

[36] fo a-Sfnnmi, UViemiJ "aPt.l^l aj/rimtU l^Tani : The King Never Smiles ( 

php?mod=mod_ptcms&ContentID=6366&SystemModuleKey=HilightNews&System_Session_Language=Thai), WSUTMSJ 2549 

[37] win laajji^EiiiEu, mtt£a<ntiJiMafluailcTwHiiiiawGi«iirn'5, anunifijjifljjvmvimaejs'S'Sijf'naGi's 2525 

[38] "His Gracious Majesty" (http://www. php?uid=492&bid=1817 His Gracious Majesty). The 

Nation. 2 February 2007. . Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
[39] Michael Schmicker, Asian Wall Street Journal, 23 December 1982 

[40] aanwu mifnu, "aanflnua-aflulviej", n^Jivmi: MuaSalviti, 2528 

[41] Anonymous, "The Chakri Dynasty and Thai Politics, 1782—1982", cited in Handley, Paul M. (2006). The King Never Smiles. Yale 

University Press, p. 298. ISBN 0-300-10682-3. 
[42] "Development Without Harmony" ( Southeast Asian Ministers of Education 

Organization. 2000. . Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
[43] "BIOGRAPHY of Chamlong Srimuang" ( The 1992 

Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service. Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. 2000. . Retrieved 26 September 2007. 

[44] The Royal jubilee Network, w^inTOma ifl^TiOTnuu.fiAcus'UAAagra'i vhfl-ufchi nntramwfla tulamaTWSiajJIfl'SsmiJJI/ra'Hn 
EU enansjSsnafl snwieiiaen ifl^s^nin-agiaGn tuwsvi & sutiajj vi.n. bfftf* (aim'lmil'uvrafm) ( 

speeches/2002/ 1 204. th. html) 
[45] Michael K. Connors, Ambivalent About Rights: "Accidental" Killing Machines, Democracy and Coups D'etat. (http://sovereignmyth., Draft paper presented to Human Rights in Asia Workshop, University of Melbourne, 

1-2 October 2009. 
[46] Anucha Yuwadee, Bangkok Post, 15 January 2003 
[47] National News Bureau of Thailand, Academics call for law to prosecute Thaksin in World Court ( 

378944-academics-call-for-law-to-prosecute-thaksin-in-world-court/), 28 June 2010 
[48] "A Wave of Drug Killings Is Linked to Thai Police" ( 

html?res=9405E7DF1038F93BA35757C0A9659C8B63) By Seth Mydans, 8 April 2003 New York Times ( 

drugwar/drugwarsethmydansny t. html) 
[49] Amnesty International report: Thailand: Grave developments — Killings and other abuses ( 

[50] March 2003 "DRUG-RELATED KILLINGS: Verify the toll, say diplomats" ( 

php?clid=2&id=75010&date=4). The Nation. 4 March 2003. March 2003. 
[51] Thailand: Public Senses War On Drugs Futile ( 20 March 2005 

[52] "wssnwma i/^^nOTniMnfiEUiijFiFiaon-i-n vimi.cJ-n tmaffiuwa lulamarui.aajjwwmjjjws^'Hn cu ffisnejSenati 

aiWCTaaSn l/lR^nin-agjaGn TUV\iqvfaufivi of Sim AM VIM. tadtGft> (QmAm'lJ'UVn-afm)" ( The Golden Jubilee Network. 2003. . , lam^«£jmi::tia<lfl'l'5ll'rill'laen lawSSsm fffltlnu wai nfl Itn <?h W {ill a fin 

iati wwia cm is.aroo mi as Iwu ila-a tan ia,aroo f\\i m ineirn Ijj lei vh unsini Ijj lei vh vind i <a<a It v,t jjunnnn ia,aroo 
Auvignej viemfl m auvi iav\iwsi wai ntmlil snem Mia vh at Va imat V5<jm<] *i -raj m wimnvivi sia<i lililmuilnS 
ngnEunniMwau rru uei Ijj w<a ivn wu ta-a Ijj lililu ueiij utin nilulilS 5 Silu wanvin"i i/nnvivh ngnmeia:: iwijau rru nam Ijj wei ci-a tfianiAiai nil vi lei qgm 5 w viema tu fma<iATijjG)aaen lawSsi vivmimwuemfl tiAint: en iav\iligi , u jJirunEi" 

[53] Asia Sentinel The Long Wait for Justice in Thailand (http://www.asiasentinel. com/index. php?Itemid=185&id=628& 

option=com_content&task=view), 10 August 2007 
[54] (Thai) Royal Jubilee Network, 2003 Birthday Speech of King Bhumibol Adulyadej ( 

[55] "Kanit to chair extrajudicial killings probe" ( php?id=120634) Bangkok Post, 3 

August 2007 
[56] "Thailand's drug wars. Back on the offensive" (http://www. economist. com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10566797) 24 

January 2008 The Economist 
[57] Thailand Times, Thaksin's 'Drug Murders' investigated (, 10 

June 2010 
[58] Extra-juridical killing cases by Thaksin government investigated again in Thailand ( 

[59] "HM the King's 26 April speeches" ( The Nation. . 

Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[60] "Constitution Court invalidate the April election and order new election" ( 

headlines_30003512.php). The Nation. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[61] "EC Commissioners arrive at Bangkok Remand Prison" ( 

The Nation. . Retrieved 25 July 2006. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 143 

[62] "EC Guilty in Historic Ruling" ( Bangkok Post. . Retrieved 25 

July 2006. 
[63] Tinsulanonda, General Prem (14 July 2006). "A special lecture to CRMA cadets" ( 

Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. . Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
[64] Kosajan, Worranaree (22 July 2006). "King urges fair poll" ( 

headlines_30009317.php). The Nation. . Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
[65] "Thai Military Launches Coup to Remove PM Thaksin" (http://www.foxnews.eom/story/0, 2933, 214498, 00. html). Associated Press. 

Fox News. 19 September 2006. . Retrieved 19 September 2006. 
[66] "Coup as it unfolds" ( The Nation. 20 September 2006. . 

Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
[67] McGeown, Kate (21 September 2006). "Thai king remains centre stage" ( BBC 

News. . Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
[68] "Thai junta vows action against foreign media" ( ABC News. 23 

September 2006. . Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
[69] The Malaysian Insider, Feared Thai ex-general warns of bloodshed ( 

8266-feared-thai-ex-general-warns-of-bloodshed), 1 September 2008 
[70] Financial Times, Thaksin claims Thailand's king knew of coup plot (http://www.ft.eom/cms/s/0/ 

e8bd988e-2d43-l lde-8710-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=l), also available at and this (http://www.ft.eom/cms/s/0/ 

e8bd988e-2d43-l lde-8710-00144feabdc0.html) page, 20 April 2009 
[71] Ahuja, Ambika (25 May 2007). "Thai king urges firm, clear verdict in key case" ( 

htm). China Post. Taiwan (ROC). . Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
[72] "Thai king against dissolving parties" ( Gulf Times. 25 May 2007. . Retrieved 

25 September 2007. 
[73] "Thai king warns over court ruling" ( BBC News. 25 May 2007. . Retrieved 25 

September 2007. 
[74] Schuettler, Darren (13 August 2007). "Academic accused of insulting Thai king in exam paper" ( 

worldNews/idUSBKK13776320070813?=undefined&sp=true). Reuters News. . Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
[75] anilflT'imafl'lSfm ( 

[76] The Economist, Fuelling the pyre (http://www. cfm?story_id=12437715), 16 October 2008 
[77] ABC News, Thai power base useless in bridging social divide ( 1/28/2432369. htm), 28 

November 2008 
[78] IHT, Thai protesters gird for a crackdown (http://www.iht.eom/articles/2008/l 1/28/asia/thai.php), 28 November 2008 
[79] Reuters, Q+A-Thailand's intractable political crisis ( 

idUSBKK2536420081127?pageNumber=l&virtualBrandChannel=0), 27 November 2008 
[80] Asia Times, More turmoil in beleaguered Bangkok (, 25 November 

[81] Reuters, Welcome to Bangkok airport — no passport needed ( 

idUSBKK8934620081129), 29 November 2008 
[82] The Australian, Embarrassed citizens plan retaliation (,25 197,2473 1325-25837, 00.html), 

1 December 2008 
[83] MSNBC, THAILAND'S POLITICAL MAZE - A BEGINNERS GUIDE (http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.eom/archive/2008/l 1/26/ 

1689630.aspx), 26 November 2008 
[84] The Economist, A right royal mess (http://www. economist. com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12724800), 4 December 2008 
[85] "Former Air Force chief Chalit appointed privy councillor" ( 

Former-Air-Force-chief-Chalit-appointed-privy-coun-30155735.html). The Nation (Thailand). 19 May 2011. . 
[86] King Bhumibol to remain in hospital ( UK: Female First. 12 

August 2010. . 
[87] Marshall, Andrew (Fri 16 Oct 2009 7:29 am EDT). Why the Thai king's health can panic markets ( 

newsOne/idUSTRE59FlXF20091016). Reuters. . 
[88] '"My govt serves His Majesty'" ( The Nation. 9 September 2005. . 

Retrieved 14 August 2006. 
[89] "Senate steers clear of motion on Jaruvan" ( The Nation. 1 1 October 

2005. . Retrieved 14 August 2006. 
[90] Handley, Paul M. (2006). The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej. Yale University Press, p. 233. 

ISBN 0-300-10682-3. 
[91] Handley, Paul M. (2006). The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej. Yale University Press, p. 126. 

ISBN 0-300-10682-3. 
[92] "Aussie pedophile free on royal pardon" (http://web.archive.Org/web/20060707203217/ 

breakingnews/read.php?newsid=30007691). The Nation. 2006. Archived from the original ( 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 144 

breakingnews/read.php?newsid=30007691) on 7 July 2006. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[93] McDonald, Phillipa (30 June 2006). "Campaigners condemn paedophile's release" ( 

sl675208.htm). ABC News Online. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[94] Bathersby, Damien (2 July 2006). "Royal pardon for child predator" ( 

cfm?storyid=3690777&thesection=localnews&thesubsection=&thesecondsubsection=). Sunshine Coast Daily. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[95] Duncan McCargo, Network monarchy and legitimacy crises in Thailand, The Pacific Review, Volume 18, Issue 4 December 2005 
[96] Federico Ferrara, Thailand Unhinged: unraveling the myth of a Thai-style democracy, Equinox Publishing 2010 
[97] "The Burning of the Thai Embassy in Cambodia" ( The Nation, 2003. . 

Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[98] "Sufficiency Economy implications and applications" ( NESDB. . Retrieved 

6 May 2010. 
[99] Chitbundid, Chanida (2003). /2546_ANTH.htm "The Royally-initiated Projects: The Making of Royal Hegemony (B.E. 2494-2546)" (http:/ 

/socio. Web (soc-anth)). Thammasat University. /2546_ANTH.htm. Retrieved 6 July 2006. 
[100] "The Projects" (http://web.archive.Org/web/20071103191658/ 

aspx). Office of the Royal Development Projects Board. Archived from the original ( 

theprojec t_rdp07_5.aspx) on 3 November 2007. . Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
[101] "Thaiways magazine: Awards presented to the king" ( 2011. . 

Retrieved 3 June 201 1. 
[102] "With new Human Development award, Annan hails Thai King as example for the world" ( 

asp?NewsID=18625&Cr=Thai&Crl=). UN News Center. 2006. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[103] Handley, Paul M. (2006). The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press, p. 417. ISBN 0-300-10682-3. 
[104] Pinyorat, Rungrawee C. (2006). "Millions of Thai honor king" (http://web.archive.Org/web/20071013150334/ 

news/world/ asia/articles/2006/06/09/millions_of_thai_honor_king). News, Associated Press. Archived from the original 

( on 13 October 2007. . Retrieved 5 July 

[105] "Govt launches commemorative events for HM the King's 80th birthday" ( 

headlines_30027071.php). The Nation. 16 February 2007. . Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
[106] HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The Story ofTongdaeng. Amarin, Bangkok. 2004. ISBN 974-272-917-4 
[107] Handley, Paul M. (2006). The King Never Smiles. Yale University Press, p. 70. ISBN 0-300-10682-3. 

[108] MCOT, Commerce Ministry launches film to honour creative King Bhumibol (, 10 February 2010 
[109] "Doctors to Permfom Surgery on Thai king, 78" ( php?id=109508_191 14638. 

html). Bangkok Post. . Retrieved 20 July 2006. 
[110] "Doctors to perform surgery to cure lumbar spine stenosis for His Majesty" ( 

php?newsid=30008905). Breaking News. The Nation. . Retrieved 20 July 2006. 
[Ill] "Thailand's king taken to hospital" ( BBC News. 13 October 2007. . 

Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
[112] "Homeward-bound King Bhumibol, in pink, snaps pics of happy, weeping subjects" (http://enews. php?id=1204). MCOT 

English News, Thai News Agency. . Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
[113] WikiLeaks cables reveal scandal and disease in Thai royal family ( 

wikileaks-cables-reveal-scandal-and-disease-in-thai-royal-family/story-e6frg6so-1226080868978) The Australian, 24 June 201 1 
[114] His majesty the king 'still works tirelessly' in hospital ( 

His-majesty-the-king-still-works-tirelessly-in-hos-30152799.html) The Nation, 8 April 2011 
[115] "Household Bureau: The King incurs diverticulitis" ( th/Home/ViewNews.aspx?NewsID=9540000147777). 

Manager Online. . Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
[116] Tang, Alisa (13 June 2006). "Thailand's monarch is ruler, jazz musician" ( 

13/thailands_monarch_is_ruler_jazz_musician/? News, Associated Press. . Retrieved 28 

February 2007. 
[118] "The Heart for Art" ( Bangkok Post. 6 February 2006. . Retrieved 20 July 

[119] Cummins, Peter (December 2004). "His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great: Monarch of Peace and Unity" (http://www. 

chiangmai-mail. com/1 1 1/special.shtml). Chiang Mai Mail. . Retrieved 20 July 2006. 
[120] "H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej" ( 

Minsitry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand. . Retrieved 4 March 2008. 
[121] "Long Live The King!" ( Bangkokker. 9 June 2006. . Retrieved 17 August 2006. 
[122] "H.M. Biography" ( Assumption University. 9 June 2006. . 

Retrieved 17 August 2006. 
[123] "Thai king's patent to make rain" ( BBC News. 27 March 2003. . Retrieved 14 

August 2006. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 145 

[124] "Weather Modification by Royal Rainmaking Technology" ( php?id=155). 60th 

Celebrations. 17 June 2006. . Retrieved 14 August 2006. 
[125] "Thai King gets rainmaking patent" ( 60th Celebrations. 9 June 2006. . Retrieved 14 August 2006. 
[126] Horn, Robert (6 December 1999). "The Banker Who Saved A King" ( 

moneyman.html). Time Asia. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[127] Horn, Robert (20 August 2008). "Forbes The world's richest royals" ( 

worlds-richest-royals-biz-richroyals08-cz_ts_0820royalintro.html). Forbes. . Retrieved 21 August 2008. 
[128] "Forbes Says Bhumipol Richest Person In World" ( th/Around/ViewNews.aspx?NewsID=95 10000099637) (in 

Thai). ASTV. 23 August 2008. . Retrieved 2 May 2020. 
[129] Pendelton, Devon; Tatiana Serafin (30 August 2007). "The World's Richest Royals" ( 

worlds-richest-royals-biz-royals07-cx_lk_0830royalintro.html). Forbes. . Retrieved 4 March 2008. 
[130] AFP, "King Bhumibol as world's wealthiest royal", 22 August 2008 
[131] "Thailand's Royal Wealth: How Thailand's Royals Manage to Own All the Good Stuff" ( 

php?option=com_content&task=view&id=402&Itemid=32). Asia Sentinel. 1 March 2007. . Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
[132] "Royal Assets Structuring Act of 1936" (http://web.archive.Org/web/20070809204241/ 

php) (in Thai). Section 8. The Crown Property Bureau. 2007. Archived from the original ( on 

9 August 2007. . Retrieved 25 September 2007. (WI^TimjEljnjGi qfl^L.ijEI'LJVlfweimi fcheilfl'SKUVnn'bfel^ei) 
[133] See Stock Exchange of Thailand Report 56-1 for TIC ( 

zip) and SAMCO ( 
[134] Shareholder services ( The Siam Cement Group. Archived from the original (http:// on 10 August 2011. . 
[135] "[Company holder]" ( (in Thai) . TH: SET. Archived from the original (http://www. on 10 August 2011. . 
[136] "King's new aircraft arrives, with Air Force One' in reserve" ( 

php). The Nation. 21 April 2007. . Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
[137] Business Wire, A Limousine Built for a King ( html?. v=l), 26 

April 2009 
[138] Champion, Paul (25 September 2007). "Professor in lese majeste row" ( 

videoChannel=l). Reuters. . Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
[139] FT, High time to concede the Thai king can do wrong (http://www.ft.eom/cms/s/0/f3ad24f4-b305-l Ie0-86b8-00144feabdc0. 

html#axzzlh67G3sai), 20 July 2011 
[140] Warrick-Alexander, James (6 February 2006). "Thailand Bars Univ. Website" (http://web.archive.Org/web/20071013142909/http:// 

yaledailynews. com/article. asp?AID=3 1649). Yale Daily News. Archived from the original ( 

asp?AID=31649) on 13 October 2007. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[141] Stevenson, William (2001). The Revolutionary King. Constable and Robinson. ISBN 1-841 19-45 1-4. 
[142] McCarthy, Terry (6 December 1999). "The King and Ire" ( 

Time Asia. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[143] The Royal Gazette, 28 December 1972 ( 
[144] "Biography of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn" ( 

html). The Golden Jubilee Network. 2004. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
[145] Aryan, Gothan (16 September 2004). "Thai Monarchy" ( - Thai monarchy paper - Gothom 

Aryan.pdf) (PDF). International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. . Retrieved 5 July 2006. presented in Kathmandu, Nepal 
[146] ( (English) 


• HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The Story ofTongdaeng. Amarin Book, Bangkok. 2004. ISBN 

• HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The Story of Mahajanaka. Amarin Book, Bangkok. 1997. ISBN 

• HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The Story of Mahajanaka: Cartoon Edition. Amarin Book, Bangkok. 
1999. ISBN 974-272-074-6 

• HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. His Majesty the King's Photographs in the Development of the 
Country. Photographic Society of Thailand & Thai E, Bangkok. 1992. ISBN 974-88805-0-8 

• HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. Paintings by his Majesty the King: Special exhibition for the 
Rattanakosin Bicentennial Celebration at the National Gallery, Chao Fa Road, Bangkok, 1 April — 30 June 1982. 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 146 

National Gallery, Bangkok. 1982. ASIN: B0007CCDMO 
• HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, Chaturong Pramkaew (Ed.). My Country Thailand... land of 
Everlasting Smile. Amarin Book, Bangkok. 1995. ISBN 974-8363-53-8 

External links 

The Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty's Accession to the Throne ( 

royal_barge_60/eng/) — official website for the Diamond Jubilee 

A Visionary Monarch ( — provides a lot of insights on his visions 

and contributions to the country. 

Songs composed by Bhumibol ( 

The Golden Jubilee Network ( — has many subjects on Bhumibol, 

including his projects, speeches, and his royal new year card. 

Supreme Artist ( — see works of art created by Bhumibol. 

The King's Birthplace ( 

Thai monarchy ( 

Thailand's Guiding Light ( 

Thailand: How a 700-Year-Old System of Government Functions ( 

nws62.htm) — article by David Lamb (LA Times staff writer) on Bhumibol 

"The King Never Smiles': L'etat, c'est moi", Sreeram Chaulia,, 4 October 2006 (http://www. 14.cfm) 

Far Eastern Economic Review, "The King's Conglomerate", June 1988. Contains an interview with Chirayu 

Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, Crown Property Bureau 

King of Thailand ( 

Boleslaw I Chrobry 


Bolestaw I Chrobry 

Bolestaw I Chrobry 

King of Poland 

Portrait by Jan Matejko. 

Reign Duke: 992-18 April 1025 

King: 18 April - 17 June 1025 

Coronation 18 April 1025 

Gniezno Cathedral, Poland. 




Place of death 

17 June 1025 [aged 58] 

Buried Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, Poznan, D Month, YYYY 

Predecessor Mieszko I 

Successor Mieszko II Lambert 

Wives Hunilda (?), daughter of Rikdag 

Judith of Hungary 
Emnilda of Lusatia 
Oda of Meissen 

Offspring With Hunilda: 

A daughter, Princess of Pomerania 

With Judith: 


With Emnilda: 

A daughter, nun 

Regelinda, Margravine of Meissen 

Mieszko II Lambert 

A daughter, Grand Princess of Kiev 


With Oda: 


Boleslaw I Chrobry 148 

Dynasty Piast dynasty 

Father Mieszko I 

Mother Dobrawa of Bohemia 

Boleslaw I Chrobry (aka Bolesiaw I the Brave or the Valiant) (Czech: Boleslav Chrabry) (967 — 17 June 1025), in 
the past also known as Boleslaw I the Great (Wielki), was a Duke of Poland in 992—1025 and the first King of 
Poland from 19 April 1025 until his death. He also ruled as Boleslav IV, Duke of Bohemia during 1002—1003. 

He was the firstborn son of Mieszko I by his Czech first wife, Dobrawa, daughter of Boleslav I the Cruel, Duke of 
Bohemia. He was named after his maternal grandfather. 

Boleslaw I was a remarkable politician, strategist and statesman. He turned Poland into a country that was not only 
comparable to older western monarchies, but also elevated it into the European elite. Boleslaw conducted successful 
military campaigns in the west, south and east. He consolidated the Polish lands and conquered territories outside of 
modern borders of Poland such as Slovakia, Moravia, Red Ruthenia, Meissen and Lusatia as well as Bohemia. He 
was a powerful mediator in Central European affairs. 

Boleslaw was an ally of Holy Roman Emperor Otto III who may have crowned him rex. Following the death of Otto 
III in 1002, he carried out a series of successful wars against the Holy Roman Empire and Otto Ill's cousin and heir 
Henry II, ending with the Peace of Bautzen in 1018. In the summer of 1018, in one of his most famous expeditions, 
Boleslaw I captured Kiev, where, according to legend, he notched his sword when hitting Kiev's Golden Gate. Later, 
a sword known as Szczerbiec, meaning notched sword, would become the ceremonial sword used in the coronation 
ceremony of Polish kings. 

Boleslaw I also managed to establish a Polish church structure with a Metropolitan See at Gniezno, independent of 
the German Archbishopric of Magdeburg, which had tried to lay claim to Polish areas. During the famous Congress 
of Gniezno he officially freed himself of tribute to the Holy Roman Empire and finally, at the peak of his reign, he 
had himself crowned as King, the first Polish ruler to do so. 

He was an able administrator; he established the so-called "Prince's law", and build numerous forts, churches, 
monasteries and bridges. Boleslaw I established the first Polish monetary system, of a Grzywna divided into 240 
Denarii, and minted his own coin. He is widely considered as one of the most talented and accomplished of the 
Piast rulers. 

Boleslaw I Chrobry 




Boleslaw I Chrobry as imagined by Jan Matejko 


Bolestaw I was born in Poznari as the first child of 
Mieszko I, Duke of Poland and his wife, the Bohemian 
princess Dobrawa. At age six he may have been sent to 
the Imperial court in Germany as a hostage, according 
to the agreements of the Imperial Diet of Quedlinburg 
(although historians now dispute this detail). Another 
theory stated that Boleslaw I spent some time during 
the 980s at the court of his maternal uncle, Duke 
Boleslav II the Pious of Bohemia. 

In 984 and at the instigation of his father, the 
eighteen-year-old Boleslaw I married the daughter of 
Rikdag, Margrave of Meissen, probably named Hunilda 
or Oda. It is believed that following the wedding he 
became the ruler of Lesser Poland with his capital at 
Krakow. The death of Margrave Rikdag in 985 left the 
marriage devoid of any political value, and shortly 
thereafter the union was dissolved and Hunilda was 

At the end of 985, probably at the instigation of 
Boleslav II the Pious, Boleslaw I married an unknown 
Hungarian princess with whom he had a son, 


Bezprym. In older literature, the princess was identified as Judith, daughter of Geza, Grand Duke of Hungary 
Though opinions vary about the identity of Boleslaw I 's second wife, there are a number of researchers who still 
support the hypothesis of her being the daughter of Geza. However, this union also came to a quick end, probably 
because of the deterioration in political relations between Poland and Hungary, and around 987 the union was 

By 989, and perhaps as early as 987, Boleslaw I married Emnilda, daughter of Dobromir, a Slavic prince of Lusatia. 
Through this marriage he had a daughter Regelinda, a son, the future king Mieszko II, another daughter and a son 
Otton. At this time Boleslaw I's rule in Lesser Poland may have been at Bohemian conferment. Presuming that it 
was, he added this province to Poland only after Duke Boleslav II the Pious' death in 999. However assuming that 
Mieszko I took control of Lesser Poland in 990 (which is likely), than Boleslaw I was bestowed the rule in Lesser 
Poland by his father but without its territory being included in the Polish realm. Boleslaw I does not appear in the 
surviving summary of the Dagome Iudex document, and as such it may be supposed that Lesser Poland was already 
known as Boleslaw I's inheritance, while his two surviving half-brothers Mieszko and Lambert, sons of Mieszko I by 
his second wife Oda, were to divide the rest of the realm between each other. Another theory is that Boleslaw I's 
absence from the document might be explained by an old Slavic custom whereby children received their inheritance 
as soon as they reached the age of majority. Thus Boleslaw I might have received Krakow as his part of his father's 

legacy before the writing of the Dagome iudex. 


Boleslaw I Chrobry 



The circumstances in which Boleslaw I took control of 

the country following the passing of his father, 

Mieszko I, forecasted what would later become a 

prevalent practice among the Piast dynasty. It consisted 

of struggle for domination, usually a military one, 

among the offspring of nearly every deceased monarch 

of the Piast dynasty. Boleslaw I was no different, and 

shortly after the death of Mieszko I (25 May 992), he 

banished his stepmother Oda and his two half-brothers, 

as they had to be considered competitors to the throne, 

especially in light of the Dagome Iudex. The exact 

circumstances of Boleslaw I's ascension to the Ducal 

throne are unknown, but it is known that by June, he 

was the unquestioned ruler of Poland — as Otto III asked for his military aid in the summer of 992. Also immediately 

after gaining the full control over Poland, Boleslaw I quelled the opposition of the Barons by blinding two of their 

leaders, the magnates Odylen and Przybywoj. As cruel a sentence as this was, it proved most effective as it 

triggered such obedience of his subjects that from that point on there was no mention of any challenge of his position 


Boleslaw I being crowned, oil on canvas, by Jan Matejko 

Extent of his domains 

Boleslaw I inherited from his father a realm that was 

close in dimensions to modern-day Poland. It centered 

on the core of Polanian country, the later Greater 

Poland (Polish: Wielkopolska). Greater Poland 

encompassed the valley of river Warta, stretched to the 

north to the Notec river and to the south it encompassed 

Kalisz. Outside of this core the nascent Poland included 

the surrounding areas subdued by Boleslaw I's father, 

Mieszko I which included: parts of Pomerania to the 

north, including Kolobrzeg in the west and Gdansk in 

the east, Mazovia with its capital at Plock to the east 

and Silesia to the south-west. It is disputed whether 

Lesser Poland, centered around Krakow, was 

incorporated into the Polish realm by Mieszko I before 

992 or whether it was added by Boleslaw I in 999. Either way by the year 1000 Boleslaw I was the lord of a domain 

larger than contemporary England, Denmark, Leon or Burgundy. 

Poland at the beginning of the reign of Boleslaw I 

Boleslaw I Chrobry 


Duke of Poland 

First years (992-1000) 

It appears, from the lack of any record of international 
activity, that Boleslaw I spent the first years as ruler 
more concerned about gaining the throne and 
remaining on it than trying to increase the size of his 
dominion. It is during this period of consolidation of 
power that he allied himself with Otto III, the Emperor 
of Germany, when in 995 he aided the Holy Roman 
Emperor in his expedition against the Lusatians. 

Endeavoring to extend his influence to the territory of the Prussians, Boleslaw I encouraged Christianizing missions 
in the Prussian lands. Most famous of those was the mission of Vojtech from the Bohemian princely Slavnik clan, 
former bishop of Prague. Known as Adalbert of Prague upon the death of Adalbert of Magdeburg in 98 1 , Adalbert's 
mission took place in 997 and ended in the missionary's martyrdom at the hands of the pagan Prussians, which 
occurred in April 997 on the Baltic Sea coast in the vicinity of Truso (a medieval emporia near modern city of 
Elbl^g). The remains of the missionary were held for ransom by the Prussians and Bohemian Pfemyslid rulers 
refused to pay for Adalbert's (Vojtech) body, consequently it was purchased by Duke Boleslaw I for its weight in 
gold, and buried in Gniezno. In 999 Bishop Adalbert was canonized as Saint Adalbert by Pope Sylvester II. He was 
later made the patron saint of Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Prussia. Canonization of Vojtech increased the 
prestige of the Polish church in Europe and the prestige of Polish state on the international arena. 

Boleslaw I Chrobry 


Congress of Gniezno and alliance with the Holy Roman Empire (1000—1002) 

By the year 1000, Boleslaw I had consolidated his position as 
Duke (Dux) of Poland. Not only did he not meet any internal 
opposition, but he furthermore had gained the respect of Holy 
Roman Emperor Otto III (980-1002). [8] Consequently in the 
year 1000, Otto III visited Poland under the pretext of a 
pilgrimage to the grave of his friend, the recently canonized 
Bishop Adalbert (Vojtech). In addition to the religious 
motivation, Otto Ill's voyage also carried a strong political 
agenda: he had intentions to renew the Holy Roman Empire 
based on a federal concept he called "Renovatio Imperii 



Within the federal framework, Polish and 

Boleslaw I as depicted on Gniezno Doors, mid. 12th century 

Hungarian duchies were to be upgraded to eastern federati of 
the empire. 

The Emperor needed to assess Poland's strength and establish 

its status within the Holy Roman Empire. The ensuing 

Congress of Gniezno, where Boleslaw I entertained his 

distinguished guest, is one of the most famous episodes of 

medieval Polish history. During the time the emperor spent in 

Poland, Boleslaw I did not hide the wealth of his country, in 

fact he showed off its affluence at every step as he tried to 

dazzle the emperor. Among other gifts the Polish ruler 

presented to Otto III were 300 armored knights, while the 

Emperor responded with a gift of a copy of the lance of Saint 

Maurice. Evidently Otto III was impressed with what he saw 

and he decided that Poland should be treated as a kingdom on par with Germany and Italy, not merely as a tributary 

duchy like Bohemia. Since Otto III had intentions to renew the Empire based on a federal concept he called 

"Renovatio Imperii Romanorum", and within that federal framework, Polish and Hungarian duchies were to be 

upgraded to eastern federati of the empire it was towards this end that the Emperor placed his Imperial crown on 

Boleslaw I's brow and invested him with the titles frater et cooperator Imperii ("Brother and Partner of the Empire") 

and populi Romani amicus et socius. He also raised Boleslaw I to the dignity of patricius or "elder of the Roman 

nation". This episode has long been a subject of hot debate among historians. Some historians see this as an act of 

favor between an Emperor and his vassal, others as a gesture of friendship between equals. Could placing of the 

Imperial crown on Boleslaw's head mean that the Emperor crowned the Polish Duke? Most modern historians agree 

that it could not. Though it was undoubtedly a sign of Otto's respect for the Polish ruler, it could not truly mean 

Boleslaw I was King as only the Pope had the authority to invest a prince with the crown and elevate his realm to a 


status of a kingdom. According to one source afterwards Boleslaw I traveled with the Emperor to Aix-la-Chapelle 
where Otto III had the tomb of Charlemagne opened. From there Otto in is reputed to have removed the Imperial 

throne itself and presented it to the Polish Duke 


Other political talks took place as well. Otto III decided that Poland will no longer be required to pay tribute to the 
Empire. Gniezno was confirmed as an Archbishopric and a Metropolitan See for the Polish area. Three new 
Bishoprics were created and confirmed with papal consent. They were placed at Krakow, Wroclaw and Kolobrzeg. 
The Poznah missionary Bishopric was confirmed as subject directly to the Vatican. Boleslaw I and his heirs gained 
the right of investiture of bishops. The future marriage of Boleslaw I's son Mieszko to Richeza (Polish: Rycheza), 
niece of Otto III, was also probably agreed upon at this point 


Boleslaw I Chrobry 


The untimely death of Otto III at age 22 in 1002 upset the ambitious renovatio plans, which were never fully 
implemented. Henry II, Otto Ill's less idealistic successor, and an opponent of Otto's policies, reversed the course of 

Imperial policy towards the east. 


Occupation of Meissen, Lusatia, Bautzen and the intervention in Bohemia (1002—1003) 

The excellent relations of Poland and Germany enjoyed 
during the Reign of Otto III, quickly deteriorated 
following his death. Boleslaw I supported Eckard I, 
Margrave of Meissen, for the German throne. When 
Eckard was assassinated in April, Boleslaw I lent his 
support to Henry IV, Duke of Bavaria, and helped him 
ascend to the German throne as Henry II. Boleslaw I 
took advantage of internal strife following the 
Emperor's death and occupied important areas to the 
west of the Oder: Margraviate of Meissen and March of 
Lusatia, including strongholds Budziszyn and Strzala. 
Boleslaw I claimed an hereditary right to Meissen as a 
relative of its former ruler Margrave Rikdag (only 
through marriage; he was the former husband of his 
daughter). Henry II accepted Boleslaw I's gains and he 
allowed the Polish Duke to keep Lusatia as a fief. The 
one exception was Meissen, which Boleslaw I was not 
allowed to keep. Though at this point Polish— German 
relations were normalized, soon thereafter Henry II 
organized a failed assassination attempt on Boleslaw I's 
life and relations between the two countries were 

Statues of Boleslaw I and Mieszko I by Christian Daniel Rauch in the 
Golden Chapel, Poznah Cathedral 

In the same year (1003) Boleslaw I became entangled 

in Bohemian affairs when the Duke Vladivoj died earlier in that year. Following this Boleslaw I aided a pretender, 
Boleslav III the Red, in gaining the throne. Later Boleslav III undermined his own position by ordering a massacre of 
his leading nobles, the Vrsovci, at Vysehrad. Those nobles who survived the massacre secretly sent messengers to 
Boleslaw I and entreated him to come to their aid. The Polish Duke willingly agreed, and invited Boleslav III to visit 
him at his castle in Krakow. There, Boleslav III was trapped, blinded and imprisoned, probably dying in captivity 
some thirty years later. Boleslaw I, claiming the Ducal throne for himself, invaded Bohemia in 1003 and took Prague 
without any serious opposition, ruling as Boleslav IV for a little over a year. It is also likely that Polish forces took 
control of Moravia and Upper Hungary in 1003 as well. The proper conquest date of the Hungarian territories is 
1003 or 1015 and Upper Hungary stayed as part of Poland until 1018 


Boleslaw I Chrobry 


Polish-German War (1002-1018) 

As mentioned above, Boleslaw I had taken control of 
the marches of Lusatia, Sorbian Meissen, and the cities 
of Budziszyn (Bautzen) and Meissen in 1002, and 
refused to pay the tribute to the Empire from the 
conquered territories. 

Henry II, allied with the Lutici, answered with an 
offensive a year later. Though the first attack was not 
successful, already in the autumn of 1004 the German 
forces deposed Boleslaw I from the Bohemian throne. 
Boleslaw I did manage to keep Moravia and Slovakia, 
however, over which he exercised control until 1018. 
During the next part of the offensive Henry II retook 
Meissen and in 1005 his army advanced as far into 
Poland as the city of Poznah where a peace treaty was 
signed. According to the peace treaty Boleslaw I 
lost Lusatia and Meissen and likely gave up his claim 
to the Bohemian throne. Also in 1005, a pagan 
rebellion in Pomerania overturned Boleslaw's rule and 
resulted in the destruction of the just implemented local 

In 1007 Henry II denounced the Peace of Poznah, 

resulting in Boleslaw I's attack on the Archbishopric of 

Magdeburg as well as re-occupation of marches of 

Lusatia and Sorbian Meissen including the city of Bautzen. The German counter-offensive began three years later, in 

1010. It was of no significant consequence, beyond some pillaging in Silesia. In 1012 a five year peace was signed. 

Boleslaw I broke the peace however, and once again invaded Lusatia. Boleslaw I's forces pillaged and burned the 
city of Lubusz (Lebus). In 1013 a peace accord was signed at Merseburg. As part of peace Boleslaw I paid 
homage to Henry II, in exchange for which he received the March of Lusatia and Sorbian Meissen as fiefs. Also, was 
performed the marriage of his son Mieszko with Richeza of Lotharingia, daughter of the Count Palatine Ezzo of 
Lotharingia and granddaughter of Emperor Otto II. 

In 1014 Boleslaw I sent his son Mieszko to Bohemia in order to form an alliance with duke Oldrich against Emperor 
Henry II. Boleslaw I also refused to aid the Emperor militarily in his Italian expedition. This led to imperial 
intervention in Poland and so in 1015 a war erupted once again. The war started out well for the Emperor as he was 
able to defeat the Polish forces at Ciani. Once the imperial forces crossed the river Oder, Boleslaw I sent a 
detachment of Moravian knights in a diversionary attack against the Eastern March of the empire. Soon thereafter 
the Imperial army retreated from Poland without making any permanent gains. Following this Boleslaw I's forces 
took the initiative. The Margrave of Meissen, Gero II, was defeated and killed during a clash with the Polish forces 
late in 1015. 

Later that year, Boleslaw I's son Mieszko was sent to plunder Meissen. His attempt at conquering the city however, 
failed. In 1017 Boleslaw I defeated Margrave Henry V of Bavaria. In 1017 with Czech and Wendish support 
Henry II once again invaded Poland, however, once again to very little effect. He did besiege cities of Glogow and 
Niemcza, but was unable to take them. Taking advantage of Czech troops' involvement, Boleslaw I ordered his son 
to invade Bohemia, where Mieszko met very little resistance. On 30 January 1018, the Peace of Bautzen (which 
made Boleslaw I a clear winner), was signed. The Polish ruler was able to keep the contested marches of Lusatia and 

Statue of Boleslaw I Chrobry at Gniezno, by Jerzy Sobocinski 

Boleslaw I Chrobry 


Sorbian Meissen not as fiefs, but as part of Polish territory, and also received military aid in his expedition against 
Kievan Rus. Also, Boleslaw I (then a widower) reinforced his dynastic bonds with the German nobility through his 

marriage with Oda, daughter of Margrave Eckard I of Meissen. The wedding took place four days later, on 3 

n ri 
February in the castle (German: Burg) of Cziczani (also Sciciani, at the site of either modern GroB-Seitschen or 

Zutzen [19] ). 

Intervention in the Kievan Succession (1015—1019) 

Boleslaw I organized his first expedition against his 
eastern neighbor in 1015, but the decisive engagements 
were to take place in 1018 after the peace of Budziszyn 
was already signed. At the request of his son-in-law 
Sviatopolk I of Kiev, the Polish duke invaded Kievan 
Rus' with an army of between 2,000—5,000 Polish 
warriors, in addition to Thietmar's reported 1,000 
Pechenegs, 300 German knights, and 500 Hungarian 
mercenaries. After collecting his forces during June, 
Boleslaw led his troops to the border in July and on 23 
July at the banks of the Bug River, near Wielen, he 
defeated the forces of Yaroslav the Wise prince of Kiev, 
in what became known as the Battle at Bug river. All 
primary sources agree that the Polish prince was 

[21] [221 

victorious in battle. Yaroslav retreated north to 

Novgorod, rather than to Kiev. The victory opened the 

road to Kiev, already under harassment from Boleslaw's 

Pecheneg allies. The city, which suffered from fires 

caused by the Pecheneg siege, surrendered upon seeing 

the main Polish force on 14 August. The entering army, 

led by Boleslaw I, was ceremonially welcomed by the 

local archbishop and the family of Vladimir I of Kiev. 

Boleslaw I may have deployed his troops in the capital 

of Rus for no more than six months (see Kiev 

Expedition of 1018) but had to recall them eventually 

due to popular uprising against the Poles. According to popular legend Boleslaw I notched his sword (Szczerbiec) 

hitting the Golden Gate of Kiev. During this campaign Poland re-annexed the Red Strongholds, later called Red 

Ruthenia, lost by Boleslaw I's father in 981. 

Boleslaw I Chrobry entering conquered Kiev. Painting by Jan 

In 1015 Boleslaw I sent a detachment of Polish horsemen to aid his nephew Canute the Great, son of his sister 
Swietoslawa, in his conquest of England. 

Boleslaw I Chrobry 


Coronation and Death (1025) 

After Henry's death in 1024, Boleslaw I took advantage 
of the interregnum in Germany and crowned himself 
king in 1025, thus raising Poland to the rank of a 
kingdom before its neighbor Bohemia. He was the first 
Polish king (rex), his predecessors having been 
considered dukes (dux) by the Holy Roman Empire and 
the papacy. Boleslaw I died not long after the 
coronation, due most likely to an illness. 

The whereabouts of Boleslaw's burial are uncertain. It 
is believed that recently discovered remains of a double 
tomb in Poznah cathedral may be the burial places of 
the first two Polish Rulers: Boleslaw I and his father 
Mieszko. Boleslaw I's son, Mieszko II, crowned 
himself king immediately after his father died in 

Poland at the end of the reign of Boleslaw I. 



At the time of his death Boleslaw I left Poland larger 
than the land he had inherited: he had added to his 
domains the long-contested marches of Lusatia and 
Sorbian Meissen as well as Red Ruthenia and possibly 
Lesser Poland. Militarily, at the time, Poland was 
unquestionably a considerable power as Boleslaw I was 
able to fight successful campaigns against both Holy 
Roman Empire and the Kievan Rus. On the other hand 
it must be highlighted that his long-term involvement in 
the war against Germany allowed Western Pomerania 
to gain independence from the Polish aegis. Another 
negative side of Boleslaw I's drawn out military 
campaigns was a damaging influence on the economy 
of his kingdom. With the passing of each year, 
Boleslaw I needed ever-increasing amounts to finance 
his wars, especially when fought on two fronts; in 
Germany and Kiev. Unceasing war had placed 
ever-increasing fiscal obligations on his subjects, which 
in turn caused negative sentiment, sentiment that 
increased throughout his reign, and that would erupt 
into popular revolt soon after his death. 


Boleslaw I Chrobry 157 

Boleslaw I was a gifted and organized administrator. He was largely responsible for fully implementing the "Prince's 
Law" throughout the Polish lands. The Prince's Law created a sort of nationalized economy, controlled by the state, 
whose sole duty it was to finance the prince's spending needs. These needs were considerable, as the Duke was 
responsible for all manner of building projects. The foundation of the "Prince's Law" lay in a network of fortified 
towns called grody, but the ruler also commissioned the building of churches, monasteries, roads, bridges etc., in 
short the development of an infrastructure. The building projects were financed by collecting taxes in money or 
goods. Also peasants were required to house the monarch or provide the prince with different manner of goods and 
services which included communications, hunting, military or others. To produce necessary goods Boleslaw I 
organized a network of service settlements that specialized each in manufacturing about 30 different goods, such as: 
barrels, arches, metal wares, spears, as well as settlements responsible for animal husbandry, i.e., swine, horses or 
cattle. Hundreds of villages were thus specialized and named to reflect their particular job. To this day one may find 
scores of settlements in Poland with names left over from that era, such as: Szewce, Kuchary or Kobylniki. This 
system functioned well enough to support Boleslaw I throughout his 33 year reign. 


Increasing both the internal and external strength of the realm was of paramount importance to Boleslaw I, especially 
in the face of increasing pressure from the magnates. The magnates demanded a larger share in the administration of 
the country while Boleslaw I sought to strengthen the central authority of the ruler. Boleslaw I's coronation, 
sometime in 1025, was aimed precisely to reinforce his leading position. In general an overall integration of the 
country took place during his reign. 

Boleslaw I was able to establish an independent Polish church structure with a Metropolitan See at Gniezno, with 
papal and imperial sanction. His work laid a foundation for the use of designation "Poland" that was to unite all 
regions of the realm, as well as for the use of one symbol to represent the supreme authority of the prince. The 
symbol was a sign of Gniezno's knightly class: the white eagle. 

Marriages and Issue 

First marriage: 984-985 

An unknown daughter of Rikdag, Margrave of Meissen, probably named Hunilda or Oda. After Rikdag's death in 
985, she was repudiated by her husband and sent away. 


1. A daughter (b. ca. 985 — d. aft. 997), married ca. 996/97 to an undentified Prince of Pomerania. 

Second marriage: 986 - 987/89 

An unknown Hungarian princess formerly believed to be Judith, daughter of Geza, Grand Duke of Hungary. Around 
987, as a consequence of the deterioration in the political relations between Poland and Hungary, she was repudiated. 


1. Bezprym (b. ca. 986 - d. 1032). 

Third marriage: 987/89 - 1013 

Emnilda, daughter of Dobromir, prince of Lusatia. 

1. A daughter (b. 988 - d. aft 1013), a nun. 

2. Regelinda (b. 989 — d. 21 March aft. 1014), married by 30 April 1002 to Herman I, Margrave of Meissen. 

3. Mieszko II Lambert (b. 990 - d. 10/1 1 May 1034). 

4. A daughter (b. ca. 991 - d. aft. 14 August 1018), married bef. 15 July 1015 to Sviatopolk I, Grand Prince of Kiev. 

5. Otto (b. 1000 - d. 1033). 

Boleslaw I Chrobry 158 

Fourth marriage: 1018-1025 

Oda (b. ca. 996 — d. aft. 1025), daughter of Eckard I, Margrave of Meissen. 


1. Matilda (b. aft. 1018 - d. aft. 1036), betrothed (or married) on 18 May 1035 to Otto of Schweinfurt, since 1048 
Duke Otto III of Swabia. 



[I] A. Czubinski, J. Topolski, Historia Polski, Ossolineum 1989 

[2] L. Bielski, M.Traba, Poczet Krolow i Ksazat Polskich. Pp. 18-28 

[3] Kazimierz Jasiriski: Rodowod pierwszych Piastow, Warsaw 1993 

[4] Oswald Balzer: Genealogia Piastow, Krakow 1895, pp. 39—41 

[5] S. A. Sroka, Historia Wejgier do 1526 roku w zarysie, p. 19. 

[6] A.Chwalba, Kalendarium dziejow Polski: od prahistorii do 1998,Wydawnictwo Literackie, Krakow 1999 

[7] L. Bielski, M.Traba, Poczet Krolow i Ksiazat Polskich. Pp.24 

[8] L. Bielski, M.Traba, Poczet Krolow I Ksiazat Polskich. 2005 

[9] Andreas Lawaty, Hubert Orlowski, Deutsche undPolen: Geschichte, Kultur, Politik, 2003, p.24, ISBN 3-406-49436-6, 9783406494369 

[10] A.Zamoyski, The Polish Way, 1987 

[II] N.Davies, God's Playground, a History of Poland, 1982 
[12] J.Strzelczyk, Boleslaw Chrobry, 2003 

[13] S.Rosik, Boleslaw Chrobry i jego czasy, 2001 

[14] K Jasihski, Rodowod pierwszych Piastow, 1992 

[15] Makk, Ferenc (1993). Magyar kulpolitika (896—1196) ("The Hungarian External Politics (896—1196)"). Szeged: Szegedi Kozepkorasz 

Muhely. pp. 48-49. ISBN 963-04-2913-6. 

[16] Thietmar of Merseburg, Thietmari merseburgiensis episcopi chronicon, 1018 

[17] Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel derZeit, 1999, p.32, ISBN 839061848 

[18] Digitales historisches Ortsverzeichnis von Sachsen (http://hov.isgv. de/Seitschen,_GroAD-) 

[19] Elke Mehnert, Sandra Kersten, Manfred Frank Schenke, Spiegelungen: Entwiirfe zu ldentitdt undAlteritat ; Festschrift fur Elke Mehnert, 

Frank & Timme GmbH, 2005, p.481, ISBN 3-86596-015-4 

[20] R.Jaworski.Wyprawa Kijowska Chrobrego, 2006 

[21] Cross, Samuel Hazzard; Sherbowitz-Wetzor, Olgerd, eds. The Russian Primary Chronicle: Laurentian Text, 1953 

[22] Anonymous Gaul.Cronicae et gesta ducum sive principum Polonorum 

[23] According to one theory, they were probably parents of Zemuzil, Duke of Pomerania. 

Bruno the Great 


Bruno the Great 

Bruno the Great 



Honored in 

Major shrine 




Roman Catholicism 

St Patrokli Dom in Soest 
October 1 1 

Bruno the Great (or Bruno I) (925—965) was Archbishop of Cologne, Germany, from 953 until his death, and 
Duke of Lotharingia from 954. He was the brother of Otto I, king of Germany and later Holy Roman Emperor. 

Bruno was the youngest son of Henry the Fowler and his second wife Matilda of Ringelheim. While he was still a 
child, it was decided that he should pursue an ecclesiastical career, and he was educated appropriately. In 951, Otto 
appointed Bruno as his archchaplain. 

Bruno soon received further advancement. In 953, the Archbishopric of Cologne fell vacant just when Conrad the 
Red, Duke of Lotharingia and Otto's son-in-law, had joined a rebellion against Otto. By appointing Bruno to the 
vacant position, Otto provided himself with a powerful ally against Conrad in Lotharingia (much of which fell under 
the archdiocese of Cologne) just when he needed one most. By the next year, the rebellion had collapsed. Otto 
deposed Conrad as Duke of Lotharingia and appointed Bruno in his place. 

Bruno was to be almost the last duke of the whole of Lotharingia: in 959 two local nobles, Godfrey and Frederick, 
were appointed as margraves of Lower Lotharingia and Upper Lotharingia respectively. Both margraves were 
recognised as dukes after Bruno's death. The two duchies would only be reunited between 1033 and 1044 under 
Gothelo I, Duke of Lotharingia. 

The combined positions of archbishop and duke — or archduke, as his biographer Ruotger called him — made 
Bruno the most powerful man after Otto not just in Germany but also beyond its borders. After the deaths of Louis 
IV of West Francia in 954 and Hugh the Great, his most powerful feudatory, in 956, Bruno, as brother-in-law to both 
of them and maternal uncle to their heirs Lothair, the new king, and Hugh Capet, acted as regent of west Francia. 

From 961 onwards, Bruno was also appointed as Otto's regent in Germany while Otto was absent in Italy. 

Bruno the Great 160 

Bruno died in Reims in 965 and was buried in the monastery of St Pantaleon, which he had founded, just outside 

Bruno's position in Cologne was little short of royal. Indeed, Otto delegated to Bruno and his successors as 
archbishop a number of normally royal privileges — the right to build fortifications and set up markets, to strike 
coins and collect (and keep) such taxes as the special ones on Jews in return for royal protection, those on market 
trading and tolls from traffic along the Rhine. Even though Bruno's successors as archbishops would not be dukes as 
well, they would be the secular as well as the ecclesiastical rulers of Cologne until the battle of Worringen three 
centuries later. 

Bruno's court in Cologne was the main intellectual and artistic centre of its period in Germany — far more so than 
that of his brother Otto, which was far more peripatetic and militarily oriented. Among others, Ratherius and 
Liutprand of Cremona spent time at the court. Many of the next generation of German ecclesiastical leaders were 
educated at Bruno's court, like Everaclus of Liege, Gerard bishop of Toul, Wikfrid, bishop of Verdun, and 
Theoderic, bishop of Metz. 

Bruno's effect on medieval Cologne was immense. Apart from building a palace, he extended the cathedral to the 
point where it was regarded as rivalling St Peter's in Rome (this cathedral burned down in 1248 and was replaced by 
the current one). He brought the area between the old Roman walls and the Rhine within the city fortifications; and 
built new churches to Saint Martin of Tours within this area and to Saint Andrew just outside the northern city wall 
and a Benedictine monastery dedicated to St Pantaleon to the south-west of the city. 

Bruno translated St. Patroclus' relics from Troyes and buried them in 964 at St Patrokli Dom in Soest, where 
Patroclus is still today venerated. 


• Timothy Reuter, Germany in the early Middle Ages (1991, Longman. ISBN 0-582-49034-0 ) 

• Pierre Riche, The Carolingians : a family who forged Europe (trans. Michael Idomir Allen, 1993, University of 
Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1342-4) 

• Carl Dietmar and Werner Jung, Kleine illustrierte Geschichte der Stadt Koln (9th edition, 2002, J. P. Bachem 
Verlag, Koln. ISBN 3-7616-1482-9) 

• Cora E.Lutz, Schoolmasters of the Tenth Century. Archon Books 1977. 

Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 


Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 

Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 

King Rama I 

King of Siam 



Vice King 

6 April 1782 - 7 September 1809 
6 April 1782 

Tarksin of Thonburi 

Buddha Loetla Nabhalai (Rama II) 

Maha Sura Singhanat 
Isarasundhorn (Rama II) 


Queen Amarindra 

42 sons and daughters with various consorts 






Chakri Dynasty 

Thongdee (later Somdet Phra Prathom Borom Maha Rajchanok) 

20 March 1736 

Ayutthaya, Kingdom of Ayutthaya 

7 September 1809 (aged 73) 
Bangkok, Kingdom of Siam 

Theravada Buddhism 

Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramoruraja Maha Chakri Borommanat Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Thai: 
1Al^tinvia3sll,|qiAl^tlJ^l3J^^n^n3JVn^nlTJtJJtn^n msWWeEiaeilrt'lW'l'Ean; RTGS: —Phra Phuttha Yot Fa 

1 11 

Chula Lok), posthumously titled "the Great", or Rama I (20 March 1736 — 7 September 1809), was the founder and 
the first monarch of the reigning House of Chakri of Siam (now Thailand). He ascended the throne in 1782, after 
defeating a rebellion which had deposed King Taksin of Thonburi. He was also celebrated as the founder of 
Rattanakosin (now Bangkok) as the new capital of the reunited kingdom. Rama I was born in the Kingdom of 
Ayutthaya, and had served King Taksin in wars against the Burmese Konbaung dynasty and helped him in the 
reunification of Siam. During this time he emerged as Siam's most powerful military leader. In 1782, he took control 
of Siam and crowned himself as the monarch. 

The most famous event in his reign was the Burmese-Siamese War of 1785, which was the last major Burmese 
assault on Siam. Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke was also the first Somdet Chao Phraya, the highest rank the nobility 

Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 162 

could attain, equaled to that of royalty. 

Early life 

An Ayutthayan aristocrat 

Thong Duang was born in 1736 in the reign of King Boromakot of Ayutthaya. His father was Thong Dee (later 
raised as Somdet Phra Prathom Borom Maha Rajchanok — the grand primordial father) who was "Phra Aksara 
Sundhornsat" (Royal Secretary of northern Siam, Keeper of the Royal Seal). Aksara Sundhornsat was also a 
descendant of Kosa Pan, the leader of King Narai's embassy to the French court, and was of Mon descent, His 
mother, Daoreung (original name Yok), was part-Chinese. Thong Duang had six other siblings. 

Thong Duang at a young age entered the Royal Palace as one of the royal pages of King Uthumporn, where he met 
his childhood friend Taksin. In 1757, aged 21, he became a monk temporarily, in accordance with Siamese custom. 
In 1760, he married Nak, daughter of a town patron in Samut Sakorn. He was later appointed the Luang Yokkrabat 
(Governor of) Ratchaburi by King Ekatat in 1758. 

Service under Tarksin 

On the eve of the fall of Ayutthaya, Phraya Wachira Prakarn (later King Tarksin) had foreseen that the fall of the city 
was certain. Wachira Prakarn decided to break the siege of the city of Ayutthaya by the Burmese army and establish 
a new base outside. Phraya Ratchaburi also joined this venture. In 1767, Ayutthaya under King Ekatat fell to 
Burmese invaders, the city was completely destroyed; burned and looted. Local warlords rose up to establish their 
supremacy in the absence of a central authority. 

Despite the fall of Ayutthaya, Tarksin and his men in the same year managed to capture Chantaburi and Trat. During 
this time Phraya Ratchaburi became one of Taksin's six ministers and together with Phraya Pichai they were 
regarded by Tarksin as his two most valuable generals. 

Military leader 

Swiftly Taksin made a strategic plan and under it recaptured Ayutthaya in one year. In 1768 Taksin crowned himself 
and founded the Kingdom of Thonburi on the west bank of the mouth of the Chao Phraya river, using Thonburi as a 
new capital. Under the new Thonburi regime, Thong Duang was appointed Phra Raja Warindra (Royal Police). 
After subjugating the warlord of Pimai with his brother Maha Montri (later Maha Sura Singhanat), he was raised to 
Phraya Abhaya Ronarit. 

After the campaign to subdue the lord of Fang in 1769, Abhaya Ronarit was raised to Phraya Yommaraj and in the 
next year became Chao Phraya Maha Chakri — the Samuha Nayok (Prime Minister). Maha Chakri joined the 
Burmese wars and went on to subjugate Cambodia. His brother, Phraya Anuchit Raja (previously Maha Montri), 
accompanied him in various campaigns. Chakri and his brother Phraya Surasi was sent to the north to Lanna in 1774 
to free the kingdom from Burmese rule with the help of Kawila, a prince from Lampang. In 1776, he conquered 
Khmer Pa Dong (around modern Surin). He was assigned the task of conquering Laotian kingdoms in 1778 and all 
the three kingdoms (Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Champasak) fell to the Siamese in the same year. He was eventually 
raised to Somdet Chao Phraya Maha Kshatriyaseuk, the first Somdet Chao Phraya. 

Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 


Ascension as King 

In 1781, Chao Phraya went on the campaigns against 
Cambodia, only to return prematurely due to the instability 
of Thonburi. The rebellion of Phraya San had broken out 
and the rebels deposed King Taksin. Some sources report 
that Taksin was consigned to a monastery. After arriving in 
Thonburi in 1782, Chao Phraya defeated the Phraya San 
with his forces. Later sources widely reported that the 
general eventually executed the ousted Taksin, 
contradicting to some earlier sources. He then seized power 
and made himself King, establishing the Chakri Dynasty, 
which continues to rule Thailand to this day. 

General Maha Kshatriyaseuk crowned himself on 6 April 
1782. Without naming himself (he was only referred to as 
King or His Majesty), he was later given his name as 
Phrabat Somdet Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke or 
Rama I or the First Reign much later by his descendants. Rama I decided to move the capital of Siam to the east 
bank of the Chao Phraya river for several reasons, including its better strategic location and a desire to promote his 
legitimacy by starting from a clean slate. He decided to name his new capital "Rattanakosin" ("Keeping place of the 
Emerald Buddha"). Rama I also raised various members of his family to royalty. He appointed his brother Surasi 
(Anuchit Raja) or Maha Sura Singhanat as the "Front Palace" (conventional title of the heir) and his nephew 
Thong-In or Anurak Devesh as the "Rear Palace". 

The King had 42 children. Ten of these were born to Queen Amarinda, the others by various concubines. The 
Queen's children included Prince Isarasundhorn, later King Buddha Loetla Nabhalai (Rama II) (whom the King 
appointed as Front Palace after the death of Maha Sura Singhanat in 1803), Prince Maha Senanurak and Prince Maha 
Sakdi Polsep. 

Mural of the epic Ramakien, written by the King, the Thai 

version of the Ramayana, on the walls of the Temple of the 

Emerald Buddha, Grand Palace, Bangkok. 

Foreign Policy and War 
Vietnam and Cambodia 

Further information: Tay Soti-Siam War 

In 1784-1785, the last of the Nguyen Lords, Nguyen Ann, convinced Rama I to give him forces to attack Vietnam, 
which was then under the control of the Tay Son brothers. However, the joint Nguyen-Siam fleet was destroyed in 
the Battle of Rach Gam— Xoai Mut in the Mekong Delta region. Nguyen's appeal for Siamese assistance enabled the 
Siamese to exert considerable political influence over Nguyen's court. Mac Tu Sinh, the son of Mac Thien Tfi and 

his Siamese wife, was raised among the Siamese, and held office as the governor of Ha Tien until his death in 1787. 

Ngo Ma, a general of Siamese descent, was appointed as its acting governor in Mac's place. Nguyen Anh also took 

refuge in Siam at the King's court waiting for the opportunities to defeat Tay Son. These episodes demonstrated 

Rama I's willingness to extend Siamese power beyond his Kingdom. 

In Cambodia, King Reamraja of Cambodia was deposed in 1779 and the throne was given to his son, the young Ang 
Eng. However, the pro- Vietnamese policies of certain Cambodian aristocrats under Ang Eng alarmed Rama I. As a 
result, Rama I had Ang Eng captured and deported to Bangkok, where he became Rama's adopted son to implant 
pro-Siamese sentiments on him. Rama I also imposed Chao Phraya Abhaya Bhubet as the Regent of Cambodia. 

Nguyen Anh secretly left for Vietnam in 1787, leaving Rama I a note. Nguyen managed to recapture Saigon by 1788 


and later ascended as Emperor Gia Long in 1802. (Thai; Phrachao Vietnam Ya Long) 

Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 


Statue of Rama I at the Phra Buddha Yodfa Memorial Bridge, 
Bangkok (1932) 

In 1794, upon Ang Eng's majority, Rama I reinstalled 
him as the Narairaja III of Cambodia. The area around 
Siemreap and Battambang was annexed by Siam, and 
were governed by Abhaya Bhubet. However, Rama I 
allowed these territories to be ruled in accordance with 
Cambodian traditions. 

Wars with Burma 

Soon King Bodawpaya of Burma started to pursue his 

ambitious campaigns to expand his dominions over 

Siam. The Burmo-Siamese War (1785—1786), also 

known in Siam as the "Nine Armies War" because the 

Burmese came in nine armies, broke out. The Burmese 

soldiers poured into Lanna and Northern Siam. Siamese 

forces, commanded by Kawila, Prince of Lampang, put 

up a brave fight and delayed the Burmese advance, all 

the while waiting for reinforcements from Bangkok. 

When Phitsanulok was captured, Anurak Devesh the Rear Palace, and Rama I himself led Siamese forces to the 

north. The Siamese relieved Lampang from the Burmese siege. 

In the south, Bodawpaya was waiting at Chedi Sam Ong ready to attack. The Front Palace was ordered to lead his 
troops to the south and counter-attack the Burmese coming to Ranong through Nakhon Si Thammarat. He brought 
the Burmese to battle near Kanchanaburi. The Burmese also attacked Thalang (Phuket), where the governor had just 
died. Chan, his wife, and her sister Mook gathered the local people and successfully defended Thalang against the 
Burmese. Today, Chan and Mook are revered as heroines because of their opposition to the Burmese invasions. In 
their own lifetimes, Rama I bestowed on them the titles Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon. 

The Burmese proceeded to capture Songkhla. Upon hearing the news, the governors of Phatthalung fled. However, a 
monk named Phra Maha encouraged the citizens of the area to take up arms against the Burmese, his campaign was 
also successful. Phra Maha was later raised to the nobility by Rama I. 

As his armies were destroyed, Bodawpaya retreated. The next year, he attacked again, this time constituting his 
troops as a single army. With this force Bodawpaya passed through the Chedi Sam Ong pass and settled in Ta Din 
Dang. The Front Palace marched the Siamese forces to face Bodawpaya. The fighting was very short and 
Bodawpaya was quickly defeated. This short war was called the "Ta Din Dang campaign". 

Economics, Culture and Religion 

Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 


Monarchs of 

the Chakri 




Buddha Yodfa 
(King Rama I) 

Buddha Loetla Nabhalai 
(King Rama II) 

(King Rama III) 

(King Rama IV) 

(King Rama V) 

(King Rama VI) 

(King Rama VII) 

Ananda Mahidol 
(King Rama VIII) 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 
(King Rama IX) 

Chinese immigration increased during Rama I's reign, who maintained Taksin's policy of allowing Chinese 
immigration to sustain the country's economy. The Chinese were found mainly in the trading and mercantile sector, 
and by the time his son and grandson came to the throne, European explorers noted that Bangkok was filled with 
Chinese junks of all sizes. 

Rama I moved the capital from Thonburi, which was 
founded by his predecessor Taksin, and built the new 
capital Bangkok. During the first few years prior to the 
founding of the current capital, he saw the construction 
of the palaces and the Chapel Royal. The Chapel Royal 
or Wat Phra Kaew of which the Emerald Buddha is 
enshrined is located within his Royal Palace or the 
Grand Palace. With the completion of the new capital, 
Rama I held an official ceremony naming the new 



The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, one of the King' many 
construction projects. 

In 1804, Rama I began the compilation of the Three 
Seals Law, consisting of old Ayutthayan laws collected 
and organized. He also initiated a reform of 
government and the style of Kingship. 

Rama I was also noted for instituting major reforms in Buddhism as well as restoring moral discipline among the 
monks in the country, which had gradually eroded with the fall of Ayutthaya. Monks had already dabbled in 
superstitions when he first came to power, and Rama I implemented a law which required a monk who wished to 

Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 166 

travel to another principality for further education to present a certificate bearing his personal particulars, which 
would prove a monk own's legitimacy that he had been properly ordained. The King also repeatedly emphasised in 
state ceremonies to place devotion to the Buddha, and not over guardian spirits and past rulers, of which vestiges of 
ancient Animist worship had a persisted among the Thais prior to his rule. 

The King also appointed the first Supreme Patriarch of Thai Buddhism, whose responsibilities included the duty of 

ensuring that Rama I's laws are maintained which was to ensure law and order within the Buddhist Sangha. Rama 

I's passion for literature, which was also connected with his concern for Buddhist order within the country. He was 


noted for advocating Thai translation of important Pali works. and Buddhist texts lost in the chaos after the 
sacking of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767, some were salvaged under the direction of Rama I. He also wrote a 
Thai version of the Ramayana epos called Ramakian. 

Also, Rama I renewed the relationship with Vatican and the Jesuits. Missionaries who were expelled during the 
Taksin's reign, were invited back to Siam. Catholic missionaries's activities then continued in Siam. Reportedly the 
numbers of local Catholics increased steadily to thousands as their churches were protected, gaining freedom to 
propagate their belief again. 

Death and legacy 

King Rama I died on 7 September 1809 after a short but acute illness, he was succeeded by his son Prince 
Isarasundhorn as Buddha Loetla Nabhalai or Rama II. 

Siam during the reign of Rama I reached a new height of power not seen since the sixteenth century. Militarily Siam 
was able to successfully repel Burmese invasions and exerted control over Laos and Cambodia and Vietnam. 
Culturally Rama I also encouraged cultural works to rehabilitate people after the successive series of wars and built 
many temples and monuments during his reign. His policies laid the foundation for Siam to expand within the next 

Titles and styles 

1736-1758: Nai Thong Duang 

1758-1768: Luang Yorkbat of Ratchaburi 

1768: Phra Raja Warindra 

1768-1769: Phraya Abhaya Ronarit 

1769-1770: Phraya Yommaraj 

1770-1778: Chao Phraya Maha Chakri 

1778-1782: (Somdet) Chao Praya Maha Ksatriyaseuk 

1782-1809: Phra Bat Somdet Phra Borommarajadhiraj Ramadhibodi 

Posthumously renamed by King Mongkut as : Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramoruraja Maha Chakri Borommanat 

Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 

Further information: Rama (Kings of Thailand) 

Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke 167 

In Memoriam 

6 April is Chakri Memorial Day, a holiday to commemorate the founder of the Chakri Dynasty. 


[I] Chris Baker, Pasuk Phongpaichit (2005). A History of Thailand. Cambridge University Press, pp. 32 and 288. ISBN 0-521-81615-7. 

[2] The following article was written by King Rama IV of the Kingdom of Thailand in 1 855 in response to the British Governor to Hongkong. 

And another related article from [[The Nation (Thailand)IThe Nation (] newspaper on 13 

December 1999.] 
[3] Britannica encyclopedia ( 

[4] Down Sampeng Lane: The Story of Bangkok's China Town ( 
[5] Thailand, doing business in ( 
[6] Clark D. Neher. Modern Thai Politics: From Village to Nation. Transaction Publishers, pp. 50. ISBN 0-87073-916-6. 
[7] Nola Cooke, Tana Li (2004). Water Frontier: Commerce and the Chinese in the Lower Mekong Region, 1750-1880. Rowman & Littlefield. 

ISBN 0-7425-3083-3. 
[8] Nicholas Tarling (1999). The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press, pp. 584. ISBN 0-521-35505-2. 
[9] Chris Baker, Pasuk Phongpaichit (2005). A History of Thailand ( Cambridge University Press. 

pp. 32-3. ISBN 0-521-81615-7. . 
[10] Urban Council. Sculptures from Thailand: 16.10.82—12.12.82, Hong Kong Museum. University of California, pp. 33. 

[I I] Nicholas Tarling (1999). The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press, pp. 221—2. ISBN 0-521-35505-2. 
[12] Nicholas Tarling (1999). The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press, pp. 222. ISBN 0-521-35505-2. 
[13] Nicholas Tarling (1999). The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press, pp. 221. ISBN 0-521-35505-2. 

[15] Chunlachakkraphong (1960). Lords of Life: The Paternal Monarchy of Bangkok, 1782-1932. Taplinger. pp. 1 14. 

Cnut the Great 


Cnut the Great 


Coin of Cnut the Great from the British Museum 

Coin of Cnut the Great from the British Museum 

King of Denmark 




Harald II of Denmark 



King of England 




6 January 1017 (London) 





King of Norway 




Olaf Haraldsson 


Magnus Olafsson 

King of parts of Sweden 




Anund Jacob 


Anund Jacob 


jElfgifu of Northampton 
Emma of Normandy 


Svein Knutsson, King of Denmark 
Harold, King of England 
Harthacnut, King of England 
Gunhilda, Holy Roman Empress 


House of Denmark 


Sweyn Forkbeard 


Swietoslawa / Sigrid the Haughty 


c. 985 - c. 995 


12 November 1035 

England (Shaftesbury, Dorset) 


Old Minster, Winchester. Bones now in Winchester Cathedral 

Cnut the Great (Old Norse: Knutr inn riki; c. 985 or 995 — 12 November 1035), also known as Canute, was a 
king of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden. Though after the death of his heirs within a decade of his 
own and the Norman conquest of England in 1066, his legacy was largely lost to history, historian Norman F. Cantor 

Cnut the Great 169 

has made the paradoxical statement that he was "the most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history". 

Cnut was of Danish and Slavic descent. His father was Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark (which gave Cnut the 
patronym Sweynsson, Old Norse Sveinsson). Cnut's mother was the daughter of the first duke of the Polans, Mieszko 
I; her name may have been Swi^toslawa (see: Sigrid Storrada), but the Oxford DNB article on Cnut states that 

her name is unknown. 

As a prince of Denmark, Cnut won the throne of England in 1016 in the wake of centuries of Viking activity in 
northwestern Europe. His accession to the Danish throne in 1018 brought the crowns of England and Denmark 
together. Cnut held this power-base together by uniting Danes and Englishmen under cultural bonds of wealth and 
custom, rather than sheer brutality. After a decade of conflict with opponents in Scandinavia, Cnut claimed the 
crown of Norway in Trondheim in 1028. The Swedish city Sigtuna was held by Cnut. He had coins struck which 
called him king there, but there is no narrative record of his occupation. 

The kingship of England of course lent the Danes an important link to the maritime zone between the islands of 
Great Britain and Ireland, where Cnut like his father before him had a strong interest and wielded much influence 
among the Gall-Ghaedhil. 

Cnut's possession of England's dioceses and the continental Diocese of Denmark — with a claim laid upon it by the 
Holy Roman Empire's Archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen — was a source of great leverage within the Church, gaining 
notable concessions from Pope Benedict VIII, and his successor John XIX, such as one on the price of the pallium of 
his bishops. Cnut also gained concessions on the tolls his people had to pay on the way to Rome from other 
magnates of medieval Christendom, at the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor. After his 1026 victory against 
Norway and Sweden, and on his way to Rome for this coronation, Cnut, in a letter written for the benefit of his 
subjects, stated himself "king of all England and Denmark and the Norwegians and of some of the Swedes". 

Birth and kingship 

Cnut was a son of the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard, and the heir to a line of Scandinavian rulers central to the 
unification of Denmark. Harthacnut was the semi-legendary founder of the Danish royal house at the beginning of 
the tenth century, and his son, Gorm the Old, was the first in the official line (the 'Old' in his name being to this 
effect). Harald Bluetooth, Gorm's son and Cnut's grandfather, was the Danish king at the time of the Christianization 
of Denmark. He was the first Scandinavian king to accept Christianity. 

Cnut's mother's precise identity is unknown, although it is likely that she was a Slavic princess, daughter to Mieszko 
I of Poland (in accord with the Monk of St Omer's, Encomium Emmae and Thietmar of Merseburg's contemporary 

Chronicon ). Norse sources of the high medieval period, most prominently Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla, also 

give a Polish princess as Cnut's mother, whom they call Gunhild and a daughter of Burislav, the king of Vindland. 

Since in the Norse sagas the king of Vindland is always Burislav, this is reconcilable with the assumption that her 

father was Mieszko (not his son Boleslaw). Adam of Bremen in Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum is 

unique in equating Cnut's mother (for whom he also produces no name) with the former queen of Sweden, wife of 

Eric the Victorious and by this marriage mother of Olof Skotkonung. To complicate the matter, Heimskringla and 

other Sagas also have Sweyn marrying Eric's widow, but she is distinctly another person in these texts, by name of 

Sigrid the Haughty, whom Sweyn only marries after Gunhild, the Slavic princess who bore Cnut, has died. 

Different theories regarding the number and ancestry of Sweyn's wives (or wife) have been brought forward (see 

Sigrid the Haughty and Gunhild). But since Adam is the only source to state the identity of Cnut's with Olof 

Skotkonung's mother, this is often seen as an error of Adam, and it is often assumed that Sweyn had two wives, the 

first being Cnut's mother, and the second being the former queen of Sweden. 

Cnut's brother Harald was the first born and crown prince. 

Some hint of Cnut's childhood can be found in the Flateyjarbok, a 13th-century source, stating at one point that Cnut 
was taught his soldiery by the chieftain Thorkell the Tall, brother to Sigurd, Jarl of mythical Jomsborg, and the 

Cnut the Great 170 

legendary Joms, at their Viking stronghold on the Island of Wollin, off the coast of Pomerania. His date of birth, like 
his mother's name, is unknown. Contemporary works such as the Chronicon and the Encomium Emmae, do not 
mention it. Even so, in a Knutsdrdpa by the skald Ottarr svarti, there is a statement that Cnut was "of no great age" 


when he first went to war. It also mentions a battle identifiable with Forkbeard's invasion of England, and attack 
on the city of Norwich, in 1003/04, after the St. Brice's Day massacre of Danes by the English, in 1002. If it is the 
case that Cnut was part of this, his birthdate may be near 990, or even 980. If not, and the skald's poetic verse 

envisages another assault, with Forkbeard's conquest of England in 1013/14, it may even suggest a birth date nearer 

n si 
1000. There is a passage of the Encomiast's (as the author of the Encomium Emmae is known) with a reference to 

the force Cnut led in his English conquest of 1015/16. Here (see below) it says all the Vikings were of "mature age" 

under Cnut "the king". 

A description of Cnut can be found within the 13th-century Knytlinga saga: 

Knut was exceptionally tall and strong, and the handsomest of men, all except for his nose, that was thin, 
high-set, and rather hooked. He had a fair complexion none-the-less, and a fine, thick head of hair. His eyes 
were better than those of other men, both the handsomer and the keener of their sight. 

— Knytlinga Saga 

Hardly anything is known for sure of Cnut's life until the year he was part of a Scandinavian force under his father, 

King Sweyn; with his invasion of England in summer 1013. It was the climax to a succession of Viking raids spread 

over a number of decades. With their landing in the Humber the kingdom fell to the Vikings quickly, and near the 

end of the year King Aethelred fled to Normandy, leaving Sweyn in possession of England. In the winter, Forkbeard 

was in the process of consolidating his kingship, with Cnut left in charge of the fleet, and the base of the army at 


On the death of Forkbeard after a few months as king, on Candlemas Sunday 3 February 1014, Harald succeeded 

him as King of Denmark, while Cnut was immediately elected king by the Vikings, and the people of the 

Danelaw. However, the English nobility took a different view, and the Witenagemot recalled Aethelred from 

Normandy. The restored king swiftly led an army against Cnut, who fled with his army to Denmark, along the way 

mutilating the hostages they had taken and abandoning them on the beach at Sandwich. Cnut went to Harald and 

supposedly made the suggestion they might have a joint kingship, although this found no favour with his brother. 

Harald is thought to have offered Cnut command of his forces for another invasion of England, on the condition he 

did not continue to press his claim. In any case, Cnut was able to assemble a large fleet with which to launch 

another invasion. 

Cnut the Great 


Conquest of England 

Among the allies of Denmark was Boleslaw the Brave, the Duke of 

Poland and a relative to the Danish royal house. He lent some Polish 

troops, likely to have been a pledge made to Cnut and Harald when, 

in the winter, they "went amongst the Wends" to fetch their mother 

back to the Danish court. She had been sent away by their father after 

the death of the Swedish king Eric the Victorious in 995, and his 

marriage to Sigrid the Haughty, the Swedish queen mother. With this 

wedlock there was a strong alliance between the successor to the 

throne of Sweden, Olof Skotkonung, and the rulers of Denmark, his 

in-laws. Swedes were certainly among the allies in the English 

conquest. Another in-law to the Danish royal house, Eirikr 

Hakonarson, was Trondejarl (Earl of Lade) and the co-ruler of Norway, 

with his brother Svein Hakonarson — Norway having been under 

Danish sovereignty since the Battle of Svolder, in 999. Eirikr's 

participation in the invasion left his son Hakon to rule Norway, with 


This milestone, U 194, in memory of a Viking 

known as Alii, says he won Knutr's payment in 


In the summer of 1015, Cnut's fleet set sail for England with a Danish 

army of perhaps 10,000 in 200 longships. Cnut was at the head of 

an array of Vikings from all over Scandinavia. The invasion force was to engage in often close and grisly warfare 

with the English for the next fourteen months. Practically all of the battles were fought against Aethelred's son, 

Edmund Ironside. 

Landing in Wessex 

According to the Peterborough manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, early in September 1015 "[Cnut] came 

into Sandwich, and straightway sailed around Kent to Wessex, until he came to the mouth of the Frome, and harried 

in Dorset and Wiltshire and Somerset", beginning a campaign of an intensity not seen since the days of Alfred the 


Great. A passage from Emma's Encomium provides a picture of Cnut's fleet: 

[T]here were so many kinds of shields, that you could have believed that troops of all nations were present. ... 
Gold shone on the prows, silver also flashed on the variously shaped ships. ... For who could look upon the 
lions of the foe, terrible with the brightness of gold, who upon the men of metal, menacing with golden face, ... 
who upon the bulls on the ships threatening death, their horns shining with gold, without feeling any fear for 
the king of such a force? Furthermore, in this great expedition there was present no slave, no man freed from 
slavery, no low-born man, no man weakened by age; for all were noble, all strong with the might of mature 
age, all sufficiently fit for any type of fighting, all of such great fleetness, that they scorned the speed of 

Wessex, long ruled by the dynasty of Alfred and Aethelred, submitted to Cnut late in 1015, as it had to his father two 


years earlier. At this point Eadric Streona, the Ealdorman of Mercia, deserted Aethelred together with 40 ships 

and their crews and joined forces with Cnut. Another defector was Thorkell the Tall, a Jomsviking chief who had 


fought against the Viking invasion of Sweyn Forkbeard, with a pledge of allegiance to the English in 1012 — 
some explanation for this shift of allegiance may be found in a stanza of the Jomsvikinga saga which mentions two 
attacks against Jomsborg's mercenaries while they were in England, with a man known as Henninge among their 
casualties, a brother of Thorkell's. If the Flateyjarbok is correct in its statement this man was Cnut's childhood 
mentor, it explains his acceptance of his allegiance — with Jomvikings ultimately in the service of Jomsborg. The 40 
ships Eadric came with, often thought to be of the Danelaw were probably Thorkell's. 

Cnut the Great 


Advance into the North 

Early in 1016, the Vikings crossed the Thames and harried Warwickshire, while Aethelred's eldest son Edmund 
Ironside's attempts at opposition seem to have come to nothing — the chronicler says the English army disbanded 
because the king and the citizenry of London were not present. Cnut's mid-winter assault devastated its way 
northwards across eastern Mercia. Another summons of the army brought the Englishmen together, and they were 
met this time by the king although 'it came to nothing as so often before', and Aethelred returned to London with 

fears of betrayal. Edmund then went north to join Uhtred the Earl of Northumbria and together harried 

Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire in western Mercia, possibly targeting the estates of Eadric Streona. Cnut's 

occupation of Northumbria meant Uhtred returned home to submit himself to Cnut " who seems to have sent a 

Northumbrian rival, Thurbrand the Hold, to massacre Uhtred and his retinue. Eirikr Hakonarson, most likely with 

another force of Scandinavians, came to support Cnut at this point, and the veteran Norwegian jarl was put in 

charge of Northumbria. 

In London, still unsubdued behind its famous walls, Edmund was elected king after the death of Aethelred on 23 
April 1016. 

Siege of London 

Cnut returned southward and the Danish army evidently divided, some dealing with Edmund — who had broken out 
of London before Cnut's encirclement of the city was complete and gone to gather an army in Wessex, the traditional 
heartland of the English monarchy — some besieging London — with the construction of dikes on the northern and 
southern flanks and a channel dug across the banks of the Thames to the south of the city for the longships to cut off 

communications up-river. 

There was a battle fought at Penselwood, in Somerset — with a hill in Selwood Forest as the likely location — and 

a subsequent battle at Sherston, in Wiltshire, which was fought over two days but left neither side victorious 


Edmund was able to temporarily relieve London, driving the enemy away and defeating them after crossing the 

Thames at Brentford. Suffering heavy losses he withdrew to Wessex to gather fresh troops, and the Danes again 

brought London under siege, but after another unsuccessful assault themselves withdrew into Kent under attack by 

the English, with a battle fought at Otford. At this point Eadric Streona went over to Edmund, and Cnut set sail 

northwards across the sea to Essex, and from the landing of the ships up the River Orwell went to ravage Mercia. 

Completion of the Danish conquest 

On 18 October 1016, as the Danes retired 
towards their ships they were engaged by 
Edmund's army, leading to the Battle of 
Assandun, the site of which may have been 
either Ashingdon, in south-east, or Ashdon, 
in north-west Essex. In the ensuing struggle, 
Eadric Streona, whose return to the English 
side had perhaps only been a ruse, withdrew 

Medieval impression depicting Edmund Ironside (left) and Cnut (right). his forces from the fray, bringing about a 

' | [37] 

decisive English defeat. Edmund fled 

westwards and Cnut went after him into Gloucestershire, with another battle probably fought near the Forest of Dean 

— for Edmund had an alliance with some of the Welsh. 

Through intermediaries Cnut and Edmund agreed to come to a negotiated settlement, and on an island near 
Deerhurst they made peace, dividing the kingdom between them. All of England north of the Thames was to be the 
domain of the Danish prince, while all to the south was kept by the English king, along with London. Edmund died 

Cnut the Great 173 


on 30 November, within weeks of the agreement. The circumstances of his death are unknown. In accord with his 

treaty with Ironside, Cnut was left as king of all England. His coronation was in London, at Christmas, with 

recognition by the nobility in January the next year at Oxford. 

King of England 

Cnut was to rule England for almost twenty years. The protection he 
lent against Viking raiders — with many of them under his command — 
restored the prosperity that had been increasingly impaired since the 
resumption of Viking attacks in the 980s. The resources he 
commanded in England helped him to establish control of the majority 
of Scandinavia too. 

The government of England 

Cnut's 'Quatrefoil' type penny with the legend 

"CNUT REX ANGLORU[M]" (Cnut, King of the 

English), struck in London by the moneyer 

In July 1017, Cnut wed Emma of Normandy, the widow of Aethelred, Edwin, 

and daughter of Richard the Fearless, the first Duke of Normandy. 

With Edmund dead, Cnut was quick to eliminate any prospective challenge from the survivors of the legitimate 
dynasty. The first year of his reign was marked by the executions of a number of English noblemen whom he 
considered suspect. Aethelred's son Eadwig fled from England but was killed on Cnut's orders. Edmund Ironside's 
sons Edward and Edmund likewise fled abroad, Edward eventually to Hungary. Emma's sons by Aethelred, Edward 
the Confessor and Alfred Atheling went into exile among their relatives in Normandy. Cnut put forward Harthacnut, 
his son by Emma, to be his heir; Svein Knutsson and Harold Harefoot, his two sons from his marriage to ^Elfgifu of 
Northampton, his handfast wife, were kept on the sidelines. 

In 1018, having collected a Danegeld amounting to the colossal sum of £72,000 levied nationwide, with an 
additional £10,500 extracted from London, Cnut paid off his army and sent most of them home. He retained 40 ships 
and their crews as a standing force in England. An annual tax called heregeld (army payment) was collected through 


the same system Aethelred had instituted in 1012 to reward Scandinavians in his service 

Cnut extended the existing trend for multiple shires to be grouped together under a single ealdorman, dividing the 
country into four large administrative units whose geographical extent was based on the largest and most durable of 
the separate kingdoms which had preceded the unification of England. The officials responsible for these provinces 
were designated earls, a title of Scandinavian origin already in localised use in England which now everywhere 
replaced that of ealdorman. Wessex was initially kept under Cnut's personal control, while Northumbria went to Erik 
of Hlathir, East Anglia to Thorkell the Tall, and Mercia remained in the hands of Eadric Streona. 

This initial distribution of power was short-lived. The chronically treacherous Eadric was executed within a year of 

Cnut's accession. Mercia passed to one of the leading families of the region, probably first to Leofwine, 

ealdorman of the Hwicce under Aethelred, but certainly soon to his son Leofric. In 1021 Thorkel the Tall also fell 

from favour and was outlawed. Following the death of Erik in the 1020s, he was succeeded as Earl of Northumbria 

by Siward, whose grandmother, Estrid (married to Ulfr Thorgilsson), was Canut's sister. Bernicia, the northern part 

of Northumbria, was theoretically part of Erik and Siward's earldom but throughout Cnut's reign it effectively 

remained under the control of the English dynasty based at Bamburgh who had dominated the area at least since the 

early tenth century. They served as junior Earls of Bemicia under the titular authority of the Earl of Northumbria. By 

the 1030s Cnut's direct administration of Wessex had come to an end, with the establishment of an earldom under 

Godwin, an Englishman from a powerful Sussex family. In general, after an attempt to govern through his 

Scandinavian followers in the first years of his reign, Cnut reverted to reliance on the leading families of the existing 

English nobility. 

Cnut the Great 174 

Affairs to the East 

At the Battle of Nesjar, in 1016, Olaf Haraldsson won the kingdom of Norway from the Danes. It was at some time 
after Eirkr left for England, and on the death of Svein while retreating to Sweden, maybe intent on returning to 
Norway with reinforcements, Erikr's son Hakon went to join his father and support Cnut in England too. 

Cnut's brother Harald was possibly at Cnut's coronation, in 1016, with his return to Denmark, as its king, with part of 
the fleet, at some point thereafter. It is only certain, though, there was an entry of his name, alongside Cnut's, in 
confraternity with Christ Church, Canterbury, in 1018. This, though, is not conclusive, for the entry may have 
been made in Harald's absence, by the hand of Cnut himself even, which means, while it is usually thought that 
Harald died in 1018, it is unsure if he was even alive to do this. Entry of his brother's name in the Canterbury 
codex may have been Cnut's attempt to make his vengeance for Harald's murder good with the Church. Of course, 
this was maybe just a gesture for a soul to be under God's protection. There is evidence Cnut was in battle with 
pirates in 1018, with his destruction of the crews of thirty ships, although it is unknown if this was off the English 
or Danish shores. He himself mentions troubles in his 1019 letter (to England, from Denmark), written as the King of 
England and Denmark. These events can be seen, with plausibility, to be in connection with the death of Harald. 
Cnut says he dealt with dissenters to ensure Denmark was free to assist England: 

King Cnut greets in friendship his archbishop and his diocesan 
bishops and Earl Thurkil and all his earls... ecclesiatic and lay, in 
England... I inform you that I will be a gracious lord and a 
faithfull observer of God's rights and just secular law. (He 
exhorts his ealdormen to assist the bishops in the maintenance 
of) God's rights... and the benefit of the people. 

If anyone, ecclesiastic or layman, Dane or Englishman, is so 

presumptuous as to defy God's law and my royal authority or the 

secular laws, and he will not make amends and desist according to the direction of my bishops, I then pray, 

and also command, Earl Thurkil, if he can, to cause the evil-doer to do right. And if he cannot, then it is my 

will that with the power of us both he shall destroy him in the land or drive him out of the land, whether he be 

of high or low rank. And it is my will that all the nation, ecclesiatical and lay, shall steadfastly observe Edgar's 

laws, which all men have chosen and sworn at Oxford. 

Since I did not spare my money, as long as hostility was threatening you, I with God's help have put an end to 
it. Then I was informed that greater danger was approaching us than we liked at all; and then I went myself 
with the men who accompanied me to Denmark, from where the greatest injury had come to us, and with 
God's help I have made it so that never henceforth shall hostility reach you from there as long as you support 
me rightly and my life lasts. Now I thank Almighty God for his help and his mercy, that I have settled the 
great dangers which were approaching us that we need fear no danger to us from there; but we may rekon on 
full help and deliverance, if we need it 

—Cnut's letter of 1019 {m 

Cnut the Great 175 


Cnut was generally remembered as a wise and successful king of England, although this view may in part be 
attributable to his good treatment of the Church, keeper of the historic record. Accordingly, we hear of him, even 
today, as a religious man (see below), despite the fact that he was in an arguably sinful relationship, with two wives, 
and the harsh treatment he dealt his fellow Christian opponents. 

Under his reign, Cnut brought together the English and Danish 

kingdoms, and the people saw a golden age of dominance across 

Scandinavia, as well as within the British Isles. His campaigns 

abroad meant the tables of Viking supremacy were stacked in favour of 

the English, turning the prows of the longships towards Scandinavia. 

He reinstated the Laws of King Edgar to allow for the constitution of a 

Danelaw, and the activity of Scandinavians at large. He also Coins of Cnut the Great. British Museum. 

reinstituted the extant laws with a series of proclamations to assuage 

common grievances brought to his attention. Two significant ones were: On Inheritance in case of Intestacy, and. On 

Heriots and Reliefs. He strengthened the currency, initiating a series of coins of equal weight to those being used in 

Denmark and other parts of Scandinavia. This meant the markets grew, and the economy of England was able to 

spread itself, as well as widen the scope of goods to be bought and sold. 

King of Denmark 

In 1018, Harald II died and Cnut went to Denmark to affirm his succession to the Danish crown as Cnut II. In the 
1019 letter (see above) he states his intentions to avert attacks against England. It seems there were Danes in 
opposition to him, and an attack he carried out on the Wends of Pomerania may have had something to do with this. 
In this expedition at least one of Cnut's English men, Godwin, apparently won the king's trust after a night-time raid 
he personally led against a Wendish encampment. 

His hold on the Danish throne presumably stable, Cnut was back in England in 1020. Ulf Jarl, the husband of his 
sister Estrid Svendsdatter, was his appointee as regent of Denmark, with the entrustment of his young son by Queen 
Emma, Harthacnut, whom he had made the crown prince of his kingdom. 

Thorkell the Tail's banishment in 1021 may be seen in relation to the attack on the Wends for the death of Olof 
Skotkonung in 1022, and the succession to the Swedish throne of his son, Anund Jacob, bringing Sweden into 
alliance with Norway. Thus, there was cause for a demonstration of Danish strength in the Baltic. Jomsborg, the 
legendary stronghold of the Jomsvikings, thought to be on an island off the coast of Pomerania, was probably the 
target of Cnut's expedition. After this clear display of Cnut's intentions to dominate Scandinavian affairs, it seems 
Thorkell reconciled with Cnut in 1023. 

When Olaf Haraldsson and Anund Jakob took advantage of Cnut's commitment to England and began to launch 
attacks against Denmark, Ulf gave the freemen cause to accept Harthacnut, still a child, as king. This was a ruse on 
Ulf s part since the role he had as the caretaker of Harthacnut consequently gave him the reign of the kingdom. Upon 
news of these events Cnut set sail for Denmark, to restore himself and deal with Ulf, who then got back in line. In a 
battle known as the Battle of the Helgea, Cnut and his men fought the Norwegians and Swedes at the mouth of the 
river Helgea. 1026 is the likely date for the battle, and the apparent victory left Cnut as the dominant leader in 
Scandinavia. Ulf the usurper's realignment and participation in the battle did not, in the end, earn him Cnut's 
forgiveness. Some sources state, at a banquet in Roskilde, the brothers-in-law were playing chess when an argument 
arose between them, and the next day, Christmas of 1026, one of Cnut's housecarls, with his blessing, killed the jarl, 
in Trinity Church, the predecessor to Roskilde Cathedral. 

Cnut the Great 176 

Journey to Rome 

His enemies in Scandinavia subdued, and apparently at his leisure, 
Cnut was able to accept an invitation to witness the accession of the 
Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II. He left his affairs in the north, and 
went from Denmark to the coronation of the King of the Romans, at 
Easter 1027, in Rome — a pilgrimage of considerable prestige for rulers 
of Europe in the Middle- Ages, to the heart of Christendom. 

On the return journey his letter of 1027, like his letter of 1019, was Coins of Cnut the Great. British Museum. 

written to inform his subjects in England of his intentions from 

abroad. It is in this letter he proclaims himself 'king of all England and Denmark and the Norwegians and of 

some of the Swedes '. 

Consistent with his role as a Christian king, Cnut says he went to Rome to repent for his sins, pray for redemption 

and the security of his subjects, and negotiate with the Pope for a reduction in the costs of the pallium for English 

archbishops, and for a resolution to the competition of the archdioceses of Canterbury, and Hamburg-Bremen, for 

superiority over the Danish dioceses. He also sought to improve the conditions for pilgrims, as well as merchants, on 

the road to Rome. In his own words: 

... I spoke with the Emperor himself and the Lord Pope and the princes there about the needs of all people of 
my entire realm, both English and Danes, that a juster law and securer peace might be granted to them on the 
road to Rome and that they should not be straitened by so many barriers along the road, and harassed by unjust 
tolls; and the Emperor agreed and likewise King Robert who governs most of these same toll gates. And all the 
merchants confirmed by edict that my people, both merchants, and the others who travel to make their 
devotions, might go to Rome and return without being afflicted by barriers and toll collectors, in firm peace 
and secure in a just law. 

—Cnut's letter ofl027 [53] 

"Robert" in Cnut's text is probably a clerical error for Rudolph, the last ruler of an independent Kingdom of 
Burgundy. Hence, the solemn word of the Pope, the Emperor, and Rudolph, was given with the witness of four 
archbishops, twenty bishops, and 'innumerable multitudes of dukes and nobles'. This suggests it was before the 
ceremonies were at an end. It is without doubt Cnut threw himself into his role with zest. His image as the just 
Christian king, statesman and diplomat, and crusader against unjustness, seems to be one with its roots in reality, as 
well as one he sought to project. 

A good illustration of his status within Europe is the fact Cnut, and the King of Burgundy went alongside the 
emperor in the imperial procession, and stood shoulder to shoulder with him on the same pedestal. Cnut and 
the emperor, in accord with various sources, took one another's company like brothers, for they were of a similar 

age. Conrad gave Cnut lands in the Mark of Schleswig — the land-bridge between the Scandinavian kingdoms and 

the continent — as a token of their treaty of friendship. Centuries of conflict in this area between the Danes and the 

Germans was the cause for the construction of the Danevirke, from Schleswig, on the Schlei, an inlet of the Baltic 

Sea, to the North Sea. 

His visit to Rome was a triumph. In the verse of Kmitsdrdpa, Sigvatr PorSarson praises Cnut, his king, as being "dear 

to the Emperor, close to Peter". In the days of Christendom, a king seen to be in favour with God could expect to 

be ruler over a happy kingdom. He was surely in a stronger position, not only with the Church, and the people, 

but with the alliance with his southern rivals he was able to conclude his conflicts with his rivals in the north. His 

letter not only tells his countrymen of his achievements in Rome, but also of his ambitions within the Scandinavian 

world at his arrival home: 

... I, as I wish to be made known to you, returning by the same route that I took out, am going to Denmark to 
arrange peace and a firm treaty, in the counsel of all the Danes, with those races and people who would have 

Cnut the Great 177 

deprived us of life and rule if they could, but they could not, God destroying their strength. May he preserve us 
by his bounteous compassion in rule and honour and henceforth scatter and bring to nothing the power and 
might of all our enemies ! And finally, when peace has been arranged with our surrounding peoples and all our 
kingdom here in the east has been properly ordered and pacified, so that we have no war to fear on any side or 
the hostility of individuals, I intend to come to England as early this summer as I can to attend to the equipping 
of a fleet. 

—Cnut's letter ofl027 [53] 

Cnut was to return to Denmark from Rome, arrange for some kind of pact with the peoples of Scandinavia, and 
afterwards sail to England. 

King of Norway and part of Sweden 

In the 1027 letter, Cnut considers himself King of all England and Denmark, and the Norwegians, and of some of the 

Swedes — victory over Swedes suggests Helgea to be the river in Uppland and not the one in eastern Scania, while 

Sweden's king appears to have been made a renegade. He also stated his intention of proceeding to Denmark, for 

the securing of a peace between the kingdoms of Scandinavia, which fits John of Worcester's writing that in 1027 

Cnut heard some Norwegians were discontented and sent them sums of gold and silver to gain their support in his 

claim on the throne. 

In 1028, after his return from Rome, through Denmark, Cnut set off from England with a fleet of fifty ships, to 

Norway, and the city of Trondheim. Olaf Haraldsson stood down, unable to put up any fight, as his nobles were 

against him for a tendency to flay their wives for sorcery. Cnut was crowned king, now of England and Denmark, 

and Norway (he was not King of Sweden, only some of the Swedes). He entrusted the Earldom of Lade to the 

former line of earls, in Hakon Eiriksson, with Earl Eirikr Hakonarson probably dead at this date. Hakon was 

possibly the Earl of Northumbria after Erik too. 

Hakon, a member of a family with a long tradition of hostility towards the independent Norwegian kings, and a 
relative of Cnut's, was already in lordship over the Isles, with the earldom of Worcester, possibly from 1016—17. The 
sea-lanes through the Irish Sea and Hebrides, led to Orkney and Norway, and were central to Cnut's ambitions for 
dominance of Scandinavia, as well as the British Isles. Hakon was meant to be Cnut's lieutenant of this strategic 
chain. And the final component was his installation as the king's deputy in Norway, after the expulsion of Olaf 
Haraldsson in 1028. Hakon, though, died in a shipwreck in the Pentland Firth, between the Orkneys and the Scottish 
mainland, either late 1029 or early 1030. 

Upon the death of Hakon, Olaf Haraldsson was to return to Norway, with Swedes in his army. He, though, was to 
meet his death at the hands of his own people, at the Battle of Stiklestad, in 1030. Cnut's subsequent attempt to rule 
Norway without the key support of the Trondejarls, through ^Elfgifu of Northampton, and his eldest son by her, 
Sweyn Knutsson, was not a success. It is known as Aelfgifu's Time in Norway, with heavy taxation, a rebellion, and 
the restoration of the former Norwegian dynasty under Saint Olaf s illegitimate son Magnus the Good. 

Influence in the western sea-ways 

At the Battle of Clontarf on 23 April 1014 — even as Cnut was preparing his re-invasion of England — there was an 
epic array of armies laid out on the fields before the walls of Dublin. Mael Morda, king of Leinster, and Sigtrygg 
Silkbeard, ruler of the Norse-Gaelic kingdom of Dublin, had sent out emissaries to all the Viking kingdoms to 
request assistance in their rebellion against Brian Boruma, the high king of Ireland. Sigurd the Stout, the Earl of 
Orkney, was offered command of all the Norse forces. Likewise, the High King had sought assistance from the 
Albannaich, who were led by Domhnall Mac Eiminn Mac Cainnich, Mormaer of Ce (Marr & Buchan). 

The Leinster-Norse alliance was defeated, with both commanders, Sigurd and Mael Morda, being killed. However, 
Brian, his son, his grandson, and the Mormaer Domhnall were slain too. Sigtrygg's alliance was broken, although he 

Cnut the Great 178 

was left alive, and the high-kingship of Ireland went back to the Ui Neill, again under Mael Sechnaill mac 

There was a brief period of freedom in the Irish Sea zone for the Vikings of Dublin with a political vacuum felt 
throughout the entire Western Maritime Zone of the North Atlantic Archipelago, and prominent among those who 
stood to fill it was Cnut, "whose leadership of the Scandinavian world gave him a unique influence over the western 
colonies and whose control of their commercial arteries gave an economic edge to political domination". A strong 
piece of evidence for Dublin's involvement with Cnut is that its king, Sitric Silkbeard, struck coinage of Cnut's 
quatrefoil type — in issue c. 1017—25 — sporadically replacing the legend with one bearing his own name and styling 
him as ruler either 'of Dublin' or 'among the Irish'. Another is the entry of one Sihtric dux in three of Cnut's 

In one of his verses, Cnut's court poet Sigvatr E>6r8arson recounts that famous princes brought their heads to Cnut 
and bought peace. This verse mentions Olaf Haraldsson in the past tense, with his death at the Battle of Stiklestad, in 
1030. It was therefore at some point after this, and the consolidation of Norway, Cnut went to Scotland, with an 
army, and the navy in the Irish Sea, in 1031, to receive, without bloodshed, the submission of three Scottish 
kings: Maelcolm, Maelbeth, and Iehmarc. One of these kings, Iehmarc, may be one Echmarcach mac Ragnaill, an 
Ui Imair chieftain, and the ruler of a sea-kingdom of the Irish Sea, with Galloway among his domains. Furtherly, 
a Lausavisa attributable to the skald Ottarr svarti greets the ruler of the Danes, Irish, English and Island-dwellers 
— use of Irish here being likely to mean the Gall Ghaedil kingdoms, rather than the Gaelic kingdoms too, while it 

"brings to mind Sweyn Forkbeard's putative activities in the Irish Sea and Adam of Bremen's story of his stay with a 

rex Scothorum (? king of the Irish) [&] can also be linked to... Iehmarc, who submitted in 1031 [&] could be 

relevant to Cnut's relations with the Irish". 

Relations with the Church 

Cnut's actions as a Viking conqueror had made him uneasy with the Church. He was already a Christian before he 

was king — being named Lambert at his baptism — although the Christianization of Scandinavia was not at all 

complete in his day. His ruthless treatment of the overthrown dynasty, as well as his open relationship with a 

concubine — ^Elfgifu of Northampton, his handfast wife, whom he kept as his northern queen when he wed Emma of 

Normandy, confusingly also ^Elfgifu in Old English, who was kept in the south, with an estate in Exeter — was a 

bone of contention, to say the least. It was important for him to reconcile himself with his churchmen, and he made 

considerable efforts to do so. In this effort Cnut repaired all the English churches and monasteries that were victims 

of the Viking love for plunder, and refilled their coffers. He also built new churches and was an earnest patron of 

monastic communities. His homeland of Denmark was a Christian nation on the rise, and the desire to enhance the 

religion still fresh. As an example, the first stone church recorded to have been built in Scandinavia, was in Roskilde 

c. 1027, and its patron was Cnut's sister Estrid. 

Cnut the Great 


It is hard to conclude if Cnut's attitude towards the Church came out 
of deep religious devotion, or merely as a means to reinforce his 
regime's hold on the people. There is evidence of a respect for the 
Viking religion in his praise poetry, which he was happy enough for 
his skalds to embellish in Norse mythology, while other Viking 
leaders were insistent on the rigid observation of the Christian line, 
like St Olaf. We see too the desire for a respectable Christian 
nationhood within Europe. In 1018, some sources suggest he was at 

Canterbury on the return of its Archbishop Lyfing from Rome, to 

receive letters of exhortation from the Pope. If this chronology is 

correct, he probably went from Canturbury to the Witan at Oxford, 

with Archbishop Wulfstan of York in attendance to record the 



Angels crown Cnut as he and Emma present a large 
gold cross to Hyde Abbey. 


Cnut's ecumenical gifts were widespread and often exuberant. 
Commonly land was given, exemption from taxes, as well as relics. 
Christ Church was probably given rights at the important port of 
Sandwich as well as tax exemption, with confirmation in the 


placement of their charters on the altar, while it got the relics of 
St ^Elfheah, which was at the displeasure of the people of 
London. Another see in the king's favour was Winchester, second 


only to the Canturbury see in terms of its wealth. New Minster's 

ro 1 ] 

Liber Vitae records Cnut as a benefactor of the monastery, and 
the Winchester Cross, with 500 marks of silver and 30 marks of gold 


in, as well as relics of various saints was given to it. Old Minster 
was the recipient of a shrine for the relics of St Birinus and the 


probable confirmation of its privileges. The monastery at Evesham, with its Abbot iLlfweard purportedly a 
relative of the king through ^Elfgifu the Lady (probably iElfgifu of Northampton, rather than Queen Emma, also 
known as jElfgifu), got the relics of St Wigstan. Cnut's generosity towards his subjects, a thing his skalds called 
destroying treasure, was of course popular with the English. Still, it is important to remember not all Englishmen 
were in his favour, and the burden of taxation was widely felt. His attitude towards London's see was clearly not 
benign. The monasteries at Ely and Glastonbury were apparently not on good terms either. Other gifts were also 
given to his neighbours. Among these were a gift to Chartres, of which its bishop wrote, "When we saw the gift that 
you sent us, we were amazed at your knowledge as well as your faith ... since you, whom we had heard to be a pagan 

ro 1 ] 

prince, we now know to be not only a Christian, but also a most generous donor to God's churches and servants". 
He is known to have sent a psalter and sacramentary made in Peterborough, famous for its illustrations, to 
Cologne, and a book written in gold, among other gifts, to William the Great of Aquitaine. This golden book 


was apparently to support Aquitanian claims of St Martial, patron saint of Aquitaine, as an apostle. Of some 
consequnce, its recipient was an avid artisan, scholar, and devout Christian, and the Abbey of Saint-Martial was a 
great library and scriptorium, second only to the one at Cluny. It is probable that Cnut's gifts were well beyond 

anything we can now prove 


Cnut's journey to Rome in 1027 is another sign of his dedication to the Christian religion. It may be that he went to 
attend Emperor Conrad II' s coronation in order to improve relations between the two powers, yet he had made a vow 


previously to seek the favour of St Peter, the keeper of the keys to the heavenly kingdom. While in Rome, Cnut 
made an agreement with the Pope to reduce the fees paid by the English archbishops to receive their pallium. He also 
arranged that travelers from his realm should pay reduced or no tolls, and that they should be safeguarded on their 
way to and from Rome. Some evidence exists for a second journey in 1030 


Cnut the Great 


Death and succession 

Cnut died in 1035, at the Abbey in Shaftesbury, Dorset. 
His burial was in Winchester, the English capital of the 
time, and stronghold of the royal house of Wessex, whom 
the Danes had overthrown more or less two decades 

In Denmark he was succeeded by Harthacnut, reigning as 

Cnut III, although with a war in Scandinavia against 

Magnus I of Norway, Harthacnut was "forsaken (by the 

English) because he was too long in Denmark", and his 

mother Queen Emma, previously resident at Winchester 

with some of her son's housecarls, was made to flee to 

Bruges, in Flanders; under pressure from supporters of 

Cnut's other son — after Svein — by iElfgifu of 

Northampton. Harold Harefoot — regent in England 

1035—37 — succeeded to claim the throne, in 1037, 

reigning until his death in 1040. Eventual peace in 

Scandinavia left Harthacnut free to claim the throne 

himself, in 1040, and regain his mother her place. He 

brought the crowns of Denmark and England together 

again, until his death, in 1042. Denmark fell into a period 

of disorder with the power struggle between the pretender 

to the throne Sweyn Estridsson, son of Ulf, and the Norwegian king, until Magnus' death in 1047 and restoration of 

the Danish sovereignty. And the inheritance of England was briefly to return to its Anglo-Saxon lineage. 

A 1 3th century portrait of Cnut the Great. It shows him as a king 
of Christendom. 

The house of Wessex was to reign again in Edward the Confessor, whom Harthacnut had brought out of exile in 
Normandy and made a treaty with. Like in his treaty with Magnus, it was decreed the throne was to go to Edward if 
Harthacnut died with no legitimate male heir. In 1042, Harthacnut died, and Edward was king. His reign meant 
Norman influence at Court was on the rise thereafter, and the ambitions of its dukes finally found fruition in 1066, 
with William the Conqueror's invasion of England, and crowning, fifty years after Cnut was crowned in 1016. 

Had the sons of Cnut not died within a decade of him, and his (only known) daughter Cunigund — set to marry 
Conrad II' s son Henry III eight months after his death — not died in Italy before she became empress, Cnut's reign 

might well have been the foundation for a complete political union between England and Scandinavia. 


Bones at Winchester 

The new regime of Normandy was keen to signal its arrival with an ambitious programme of grandiose cathedrals 
and castles throughout the High Middle Ages. Winchester Cathedral was built on the old Anglo-Saxon site (Old 
Minster) and the previous burials were set in mortuary chests there. Then, during the English Civil War, in the 17th 
century, plundering Roundhead soldiers scattered the bones on the floor, and the bones of Cnut were spread amongst 

the various other chests of rulers: notably William Rufus 


Cnut the Great 


Marriages and issue 

• 1 — jElfgifu of Northampton 

• Sweyn Knutsson, King of Norway 

• Harold Harefoot, King of England 

• 2 — Emma of Normandy 

• Harthacnut, King of Denmark and England 

• Gunhilda of Denmark, wed Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor. 

Family tree 










jElfgifu of 


Emma of 






1st wife 















Earl of 









Ealdgyth Robert 


Edward Agatha 











Gyrth, Malcolm Margaret 
Gunnhilda, III 



Edith of 


+Said to have been a great-granddaughter of Cnut's grandfather Harald Bluetooth, but this was probably a fiction 
intended to give her a royal bloodline. 

Cnut the Great 182 

Ruler of the waves 

Henry of Huntingdon, the 12th-century chronicler, tells how Cnut set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the 

tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes. Yet "continuing to rise as usual [the tide] dashed over his feet and legs 

without respect to his royal person. Then the king leapt backwards, saying: 'Let all men know how empty and 

worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by 

eternal laws.' He then hung his gold crown on a crucifix, and never wore it again "to the honour of God the almighty 

King". This incident is usually misrepresented by popular commentators and politicians as an example of Cnut's 


This story may be apocryphal. While the contemporary Encomium Emmae has no mention of it, it would seem that 
so pious a dedication might have been recorded there, since the same source gives an "eye-witness account of his 

lavish gifts to the monasteries and poor of St Omer when on the way to Rome, and of the tears and breast-beating 

which accompanied them". Goscelin, writing later in the 11th century, instead has Cnut place his crown on a 

crucifix at Winchester one Easter, with no mention of the sea, and "with the explanation that the king of kings was 

T541 [541 

more worthy of it than he". Nevertheless, there may be a "basis of fact, in a planned act of piety" behind this 

story, and Henry of Huntingdon cites it as an example of the king's "nobleness and greatness of mind." Later 

historians repeated the story, most of them adjusting it to have Cnut more clearly aware that the tides would not obey 

him, and staging the scene to rebuke the flattery of his courtiers; and there are earlier Celtic parallels in stories of 

men who commanded the tides, namely Saint Illtud, Maelgwn, king of Gwynedd, and Tuirbe, of Tuirbe's Strand, in 


The encounter with the waves is said to have taken place at Thorn-eye (Thorn Island), or Southampton in 

Hampshire. There were and are numerous islands so named, including at Westminster and Bosham in West Sussex, 

both places closely associated with Cnut. According to the House of Commons Information Office, Cnut set up a 

Royal palace during his reign on Thorney Island (later to become known as Westminster) as the area was sufficiently 

far away from the busy settlement to the east known as London. It is believed that, on this site, Cnut tried to 

command the tide of the river to prove to his courtiers that they were fools to think that he could command the 

waves. Conflictingly, a sign on Southampton city centre's Canute Road reads, "Near this spot AD 1028 Canute 

a u- <•■ .. [99] [100] 

reproved his courtiers . 

Cnut's skalds 

The Old Norse catalogue of skalds known as Skdldatal lists eight skalds who were active at Cnut's court. Four of 
them, namely Sigvatr E>6r9arson, Ottarr svarti, Porarinn loftunga and Hallvarflr hareksblesi, composed verses in 
honour of Cnut which have survived in some form, while no such thing is apparent from the four other skalds Bersi 
Torfuson, Arnorr E>6r9arson jarlaskald (known from other works), Steinn Skaptason and OSarkeptr (unknown). The 
principal works for Cnut are the three Knutsdrdpur by Sigvatr E>6r9arson, Ottarr svarti and Hallvardr hareksblesi, and 
the Hofudlausn and T0gdrdpa by Porarinn loftunga. Cnut also features in two other contemporary skaldic poems, 
namely E>6r9r Kolbeinsson's Eiriksdrdpa and the anonymous Lidsmannaflokkr. 

Cnut's skalds emphasize the parallelism between Cnut's rule of his earthly kingdom and God's rule of Heaven. 
This is particularly apparent in their refrains. Thus the refrain of Porarinn's Hofudlausn translates to "Cnut protects 
the land as the guardian of Byzantium [God] [does] Heaven" and the refrain of Hallvarflr's Knutsdrdpa translates to 
"Cnut protects the land as the Lord of all [does] the splendid hall of the mountains [Heaven]". Despite the 
Christian message, the poets also make use of traditional pagan references and this is particularly true of Hallvarflr. 
As an example, one of his half-stanzas translates to "The Freyr of the noise of weapons [warrior] has also cast under 
him Norway; the battle-server [warrior] diminishes the hunger of the valcyrie's hawks [ravens].' The skald here 

refers to Cnut as "Freyr of battle", a kenning using the name of the pagan god Freyr. References of this sort were 
avoided by poets composing for the contemporary kings of Norway but Cnut seems to have had a more relaxed 
attitude towards pagan literary allusions. 

Cnut the Great 



[1] Cnut's mother is the subject of historical debate. Some sources identify as her Gunnhilda, others say she is apocryphal or that there is 
insufficient evidence to name her. According to Medieval chroniclers Thietmar of Merseburg and Adam of Bremen, Cnut was the son of a 
Polish princess who was the daughter of Mieszko I and sister of Boleslaw I: this has been linked to Cnut's use of Polish troops in England and 
Cnut's sister's Anglicized Slavic name, Santslaue. 

[2] Bolton, The Empire of Cnut the Great: Conquest and the Consolidation of Power in Northern Europe in the Early Eleventh Century (Leiden, 

[3] Modern languages: Danish: Knud den Store or Knud II, Norwegian: Knut den mektige, Swedish: Knut den Store, , Polish: Kanut Wielki 

[4] Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, 1995: 166. 

[5] Encomiast, Encomium Emmae, ii. 2, pg. 18 

[6] Thietmar, Chronicon, vii. 39, pgs. 446—447 

[7] Trow, Cnut, p. 40. 

[8] M. K. Lawson, Cnut, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2005 ( 

[9] Graslund, B.,'Knut den store och sveariket: Slaget vid Helgea i ny belysning', Scandia, vol. 52 (1986), pp. 21 1—238. 





Forte, et al., Viking Empires, p. 196. 

Lawson, Cnut, p. 97. The Anglo-Saxon kings used the title "king of the English". Canute was ealles Engla landes cyning — "king of all 
Trow, Cnut, pp. 30—3 1 . 

Snorri, Heimskringla, The History ofOlav Trygvason, ch. 34, p. 141 

Adam of Bremen, History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen, Book II, ch. 37; see also Book II, ch. 33, Scholion 25 
Snorri, Heimskringla, The History ofOlav Trygvason, ch. 91, p. 184 
Trow, Cnut, p. 44. 

Douglas, English Historical Documents, pp. 335—336 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 160. 
Trow, Cnut, p. 92. 

John, H., The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings, Penguin (1995), p. 122. 
Ellis, Celt & Saxonjp. 182. 

William of Malms., Gesta Regnum Anglorum, pp. 308—310 
Sawyer, History of the Vikings, pp. 171 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 27 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 49. 
Trow, Cnut, p. ???. 

Garmonsway, G.N. (ed. & trans.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Dent Dutton, 1972 & 1975, Peterborough (E) text, s.a. 1015, p. 146. 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 27. 
G. Jones, Vikings, p. 370 
Trow, Cnut, p. 57. 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 161 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 28. 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 146—9. 
Trow, Cnut, p. 59. 

Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 148—50 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 150—1 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 151—3 

Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, pp. 152—3; Williams, A., Mthelred the Unready The Ill-Counselled King, Hambledon & London, 2003, pp. 146—7. 
Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, 3rd ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1971, ISBN 198217161, p. 399. 
Forte, Oram & Pedersen, Viking Empires, pp. 198 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, p. 154 
Lawson, Cnut, pp. 51-2 & 163. 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 83. 
Lawson, cnut, p. 162 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 89. 
Thietmar, Chronicon, vii. 7, pp.502— 03 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 90. 
Trow, Cnut, pp.168— 69. 
Forte, et al., Viking Empires, pp. 198 
Jones, Vikings, p.373 
Lawson, Cnut, pp. 65—66. 
Lawson, Cnut, pp. 124—125. 

Cnut the Great 


[53] Trow, Cnut, p. 193. 

[54] Lawson, Cnut, p. 125. 

[55] Forte, et al., Viking Empires, pp. 198. 

[56] Trow, Cnut, p. 189. 

[57] Lawson, Cnut, p. 104. 

[58] Trow, Cnut, p. 191. 

[59] Lawson, Cnut, pp. 95—8. 

[60] Trow, Cnut, p. 197. 

[61] Adam of Bremen, Gesta Daenorum, ii. 61, p. 120. 

[62] Lawson, Cnut, pp. ?? 

[63] Trow, Cnut, pp. 197. 

[64] Forte, et al., Viking Empires, pp. 196—197 

[65] Forte, et al., Viking Empires, p. 227. 

[66] Hudson, Knutr, pp. 323—25. 

[67] Hudson, Knutr, pp. 330-31. 

[68] Forte, et al., Viking Empires, pp. 197—198. 

[69] Lawson, Cnut. p. 102. 

[70] Trow, Cnut, pp. 197-198. 

[71] Lausavisur, ed. Johson Al, pgs. 269—270 

[72] Lawson, Cnut. pp. 31-2. 

[73] Adam of Bremen, Gesta Daenorum, scholium 37, p. 112. 

[74] Lawson, Cnut, p. 121 

[75] Olsen, Christianity & Churches, in Roesdahl & Wilson (eds) From Viking to Crusader — The Scandinavians & Europe 800—1200 

[76] Trow, Cnut, p. 129 

[77] Lawson, Cnut, P. 86 

[78] Lawson, Cnut, P. 87 

[79] Lawson, Cnut, pp. 139-147 

[80] Lawson, Cnut, p. 141 

[81] Lawson, Cnut, p. 142 

[82] Lawson, Cnut, p. 126 

[83] Lawson, Cnut, p. 143 

[84] Trow, Cnut, p. 128 

[85] Lawson, Cnut, p. 147 

[86] Lawson, Cnut, p. 146 

[87] Lawson, Cnut, p. 144 

[88] Lawson, Cnut, p. 145 

[89] Trow, Cnut, p. 186 

] The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 

] Lawson, Cnut, p. 98 & pp. 104-105 

] Lawson, Cnut, p. 195. 

] "Photo of a sign posted in Winchester Cathedral marking Cnut's mortuary chest, posted at the web site, retrieved 2009-07-25" 

( . 

] Henry of Hntdn., The Chronicle, p. 199. 

] Is King Canute misunderstood? ( BBC news story 

| Lord Raglan: " Cnut and the Waves (": Man, Vol. 60, (Jan., 1960), pp. 7—8. The legend of Canute's 

attempt to rule the waves has long persisted in the lore of western civilization, being cited, for example, by Stacy Head as typifying the New 

Orleans City Council's response to Hurricane Katrina. 

| The Palace of Westminster Factsheet Gil, General Series, Revised March 2008 

] Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, ( 

palace/estatehistory/the-middle-ages/anglosaxon-royal-palace/) Living Heritage. History of the Parliamentary Estate: Anglo-Saxon origins 

] "Canute Castle Hotel" ( 

bargate-ward/canute-castle.aspx). Archaeological Sites. Southampton City Council. January 2001. . Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
"Google Maps, Canute Road Southampton" ( . Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
Lawson, Cnut, p. 126 
[102] Frank 1999:116. 
[103] Frank 1999:120. 
[104] Frank 1999:121. 






Cnut the Great 185 


• Adam of Bremen (1917), Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontifificum, or History of the Archbishops of 
Hamburg-Bremen. English translation by F. J. Tschan., Hamburg: Hahnuni 

• Campbell, Alistair, ed. (1998), Encomium Emmae Reginae, London: Cambridge University 

• Ellis, P. B. (1993), Celt & Saxon, Suffolk: St. Edmundsbury Press 

• Forte, A., et. al. (2005), Viking Empires (http://books. google. com/books ?id=_vEd859jvkOC& 
printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false) (1st ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge 
University Press, ISBN 0-521-82992-5 

• Frank, R. (1999), King Cnut in the verse of his skalds. In The Reign of Cnut, London: Leicester University Press, 
ISBN 0-7185-0205-1 

• Henry of Huntingdon (1853), The Chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon, comprising The History of England, From 
the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the accession of Henry II. English translation by T.A.M. Forester, London: 
Henry, G. Bohn 

• Hudson, B. T. (1994), Knutr & Viking Dublin, Scandinavian Studies 

• Jones, Gwyn (1984), A History of the Vikings (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-285139-X 

• Lawson, M. K. (2004), Cnut -England's Viking King (2nd ed.), Stroud: Tempus, ISBN 0-7524-2964-7 

• Olsen, O. (1992), Christianity & Churches. In From Viking to Crusader — The Scandinavians & Europe 
800-1200, Copenhagen: Nordic Council Of Ministers 

• Ranelagh, John OBernie (2001), A Short History of Ireland, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
ISBN 0-521-46944-9 

• Sawyer, P. (1997), The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings (1st ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 
ISBN 0-19-820526-0 

• Snorri Sturluson (1990), Heimskringla, or The Lives of the Norse Kings. English translation by Erling Monsen & 
A. H. Smith., Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., ISBN 0-486-26366-5 

• Swanton, Michael, ed. (1996), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, New York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-92129-5 

• Thietmar (1962) Chronik: Chronicon; Neu iibertragen und erlautert von Werner Trillmich. Darmstadt: 
Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 

• Trow, M. J. (2005), Cnut - Emperor of the North, Stroud: Sutton, ISBN 0-7509-3387-9 

• William of Malmesbury (1998), Gesta Regnum Anglorum. English translation by R.A.B. Mynors, Oxford: 
Clarendon Press 


• Barlow, Frank (1979) [1963]. The English Church, 1000-1066 (2nd ed.). London: Longman. 

• Bolton, Timothy (2009), The Empire of Cnut the Great: Conquest and the Consolidation of Power in Northern 
Europe in the Early Eleventh Century, The Northern World. North Europe and the Baltic c. 400—1700 A.D.: 
Peoples, Economies and Cultures, volume 40, Leiden: Brill, ISBN 978-90-04-16670-7, ISSN 1569-1462 

• Hudson, B. T. (1992). "Cnut and the Scottish Kings". The English Historical Review 107: 350—60. 

• Lawson, M. K. (2005). "Cnut (d. 1035)" ( Oxford Dictionary 
of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 

• Mack, Katharine (1984). "Changing Thegns: Cnut's Conquest and the English Aristocracy". Albion 16.4: 375—87. 

• Rumble, Alexander R., ed. (1994). The Reign of Cnut: King of England, Denmark and Norway. Studies in the 
early history of Britain. London: Leicester UP. 

• Stenton, Frank (1971) [1943]. Anglo-Saxon England (3rd ed.). Oxford: OUP. 

Cnut the Great 186 

External links 

• Canute the Great ( 

• Canute (Knud) The Great — From Viking warrior to English king ( 

• Vikingworld (Danish) — Canute the Great (Knud den Store) ( 

• Time Team — Who was King Cnut? (http://www.channel4.eom/history/microsites/T/timeteam/ 

• Northvegr (Scandinavian) — A History of the Vikings (Search) ( 

• Images from the British Library's collections ( 

Casimir III the Great 


Casimir III the Great 

Casimir III the Great 
Kazimierz Wielki 

King of PolandCasimir by the grace of God king of Poland, lord and inheritor of the land of Krakow, Sandomierz, Sieradz, heczyca, 

Kuyavia, Pomerania (Pomerelia) and Ruthenia. 

Tomb effigy 
Tomb effigy 


King of Poland 



25 April 1333 
Wladyslaw Elbow-high 


Louis I 


Aldona of Lithuania 
Adelaide of Hesse 
Christina Rokiczana 
Hedwig of Sagan 


Elisabeth, Duchess of Pomerania 
Anna, Countess of Cilli 


Piast ^y 

Wladyslaw I the Elbow-high 


Hedwig of Kalisz 

30 April 1310 
Kowal, Poland 



5 November 1370 (aged 60) 
Krakow, Poland 

Wawel Cathedral, Krakow 


Casimir III the Great (Polish: Kazimierz Wielki) (30 April 1310—5 November 1370), last King of Poland from the 
Piast dynasty (reigned 1333—1370), was the son of King Wladyslaw I the Elbow-high and Hedwig of Kalisz. 

Casimir III the Great 188 


Born in Kowal, Casimir the Great first married Anna, or Aldona Ona, the daughter of the Prince of Lithuania, 
Gediminas. The daughters from this marriage were Cunigunde (d 1357), who was married to Louis VI the Roman, 
the son of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and Elisabeth, who was married to Duke Bogislaus V of Pomerania. 
Aldona died in 1339 and Kazimierz then married Adelaide of Hesse. He divorced Adelheid in 1356, married 
Christina, divorced her, and while Adelaide and possibly also Christina were still alive (ca. 1365) married Hedwig 
(Jadwiga) of Glogow and Sagan. 

His three daughters by his fourth wife were very young and regarded as of dubious legitimacy because of their 
father's bigamy. Because all of the five children he fathered with his first and fourth wife were daughters, he would 
have no lawful male heir to his throne. 

When Casimir, the last Piast king of Poland, died in 1370, his nephew King Louis I of Hungary succeeded him to 
become king of Poland in personal union with Hungary. 

Great king 

Casimir is the only Polish king who both received and kept the title of Great in Polish history (Boleslaw I Chrobry is 
also called the Great, but his title Chrobry (Valiant) is now more common). When he received the crown, his hold on 
it was in danger, as even his neighbours did not recognise his title and instead called him "king of Krakow". The 
economy was ruined, and the country was depopulated and exhausted by war. Upon his death, he left a country 
doubled in size (mostly through the addition of land in today's Ukraine, then the Duchy of Halicz), prosperous, 
wealthy and with great prospects for the future. Although he is depicted as a peaceful king in children's books, he in 
fact waged many victorious wars and was readying for others just before he died. 

Casimir the Great built many new castles, reformed the Polish army and Polish civil and criminal law. At the Sejm in 
Wislica, 11 March 1347, he introduced salutary legal reforms in the jurisprudence of his country. He sanctioned a 
code of laws for Great and Lesser Poland, which gained for him the title of "the Polish Justinian" and founded the 
University of Krakow which is the oldest Polish university, although his death temporarily stalled the university's 
development (which is why it is today called the "Jagiellonian" rather than "Casimirian" University). 

He organized a meeting of kings at Krakow (1364) in which he exhibited the wealth of the Polish kingdom. 

Concession to the nobility 

In order to enlist the support of the nobility, especially the military help 
of pospolite ruszenie, Casimir was forced to give up important 
privileges to their caste, which made them finally clearly dominant over 
townsfolk (burghers or mieszczanstwo). 

In 1335, in the Treaty of Trentschin, Kazimierz relinquished "in 
perpetuity" his claims to Silesia. In 1355 in Buda, Casimir designated 
Louis I of Hungary as his successor. In exchange, the szlachta's tax 
burden was reduced and they would no longer be required to pay for 
Subjection of Rutheniaby the Crown of the military expeditions expenses outside Poland. Those important 

Polish Kingdom (1 366), by Jan Matejko concessions would eventually lead to the ultimately crippling rise of the 

unique nobles' democracy in the Polish— Lithuanian Commonwealth. 

His second daughter, Elisabeth, Duchess of Pomerania, bore a son in 1351, Casimir IV of Pomerania. He was slated 
to become the heir, but did not succeed to the throne, dying childless in 1377, 7 years after King 

Casimir III the Great 


Casimir. He was the only male descendant of King Casimir who lived 
during his lifetime. 

Also, his son-in-law Louis VI the Roman of Bavaria, Margrave and 
Prince-elector of Brandenburg, was thought as a possible successor as 
king of Poland. However, he was not deemed eligible as his wife, 
Casimir's daughter Cunigunde, had died already in 1357, without 

The Poles repulsed many raids of the Tatar-Mongols. However, Casimir 
III the Great submitted to the Golden Horde and undertook to pay 

tribute in order to avoid more conflicts 


Wiec in reign of Casimir the Great 

The 7 Mongol princes were sent by Jani Beg khan to assist Poland. 

Casimir had no legitimate sons. Apparently, he deemed his own descendants either unsuitable or too young to 
inherit. Thus, and in order to provide a clear line of succession and avoid dynastic uncertainty, he arranged for his 
nephew, King Louis I of Hungary, to be his successor in Poland. Louis was proclaimed king on Casimir's death in 
1370, and Casimir's sister Elisabeth (Louis's mother) held much of the real power until her death in 1380. 

Relationship with Polish Jews 

King Casimir was favorably disposed toward Jews. On 9 October 1334, 
he confirmed the privileges granted to Jewish Poles in 1264 by 
Boleslaw V the Chaste. Under penalty of death, he prohibited the 
kidnapping of Jewish children for the purpose of enforced Christian 
baptism. He inflicted heavy punishment for the desecration of Jewish 

Although Jews had lived in Poland since before the reign of King 
Casimir, he allowed them to settle in Poland in great numbers and 

protected them as people of the king 

Relationships and children 


Wojciech Gerson, Casimir the Great and the 

Aldona of Lithuania 

On 30 April or 16 October 1325, Casimir married Aldona of Lithuania. She was a daughter of Gediminas of 
Lithuania and Jewna. They had two children: 

• Elisabeth of Poland (ca. 1326—1361). She married Boguslaw V, Duke of Pomerania. 

• Cunigunde of Poland (1334—1357). Married Louis VI the Roman. 

Aldona died on 26 May 1339. Casimir remained a widower for two years. 

Casimir III the Great 190 

Adelheid of Hesse 

On 29 September 1341, Casimir married his second wife Adelheid of Hesse. She was a daughter of Henry II, 
Landgrave of Hesse and Elisabeth of Meissen. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick I, Margrave of Meissen 
and his second wife Elizabeth of Lobdeburg-Arnshaugk. They had no children. 

Casimir started living separately from Adelheid soon after their marriage. Their loveless marriage lasted until 1356. 


Casimir effectively divorced Adelheid and married his mistress Christina. Christina was the widow of Miklusz 
Rokiczani, a wealthy merchant. Her own origins are unknown. Following the death of her first husband she had 
entered the court of Bohemia in Prague as a lady-in-waiting. Casimir brought her with him from Prague and 
convinced the abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Tyniec to marry them. The marriage was held in a secret ceremony 
but soon became known. Adelheid renounced it as bigamous and returned to Hesse without permission. 

Casimir continued living with Christine despite complaints by Pope Innocent VI on behalf of Adelheid. The 
marriage lasted until 1363/1364 when Casimir again declared himself divorced. They had no children. 

Jadwiga of Zagaii 

In about 1365, Casimir married his fourth wife Hedwig of Zagah. She was a daughter of Henry V of Iron, Duke of 
Zagah and Anna of Mazovia. They had three children: 

• Anna of Poland, Countess of Celje (1366 — 9 June 1422). Married firstly William of Celje. Their only daughter 
was Anne of Cilli. Married secondly Ulrich, Duke of Teck. They had no children. 

• Kunigunde of Poland (1367-1370). 

• Hedwig of Poland (1368 — ca. 1407). Reportedly married ca. 1382 but the details are obscure. 

With Adelheid still alive and Christine possibly surviving, the marriage to Hedwig was also considered bigamous. 
The legitimacy of the three last daughters was disputed. Casimir managed to have Anne and Cunigunde legitimated 
by Pope Urban V on 5 December 1369. Hedwig the younger was legitimated by Pope Gregory XI on 11 October 



Casimir also had three illegitimate sons by his mistress Cudka, wife of a castellan. 

• Niemierz (last mentioned alive in 1386). Oldest son. Survived his father, inherited lands around Stopnica. 

• Pelka (1342—1365). Married and had two sons. Predeceased his father. 

• Jan (d. 28 October 1383). Youngest son. Survived his father, inherited lands around Stopnica. 


Konrad I of Masovia 
Casimir I of Kuyavia 
Agafia of Rus 
aw I the Elbow-high 

Casimir I of Opole 
Euphrosyne of Opole 


Casimir III the Great 



Casimir III the Great 

Wladysiaw Odonic 
Boleslaus the Pious 

Jadwiga of Pomerania 
Hedwig of Kalisz 

Bela IV of Hungary 
Blessed Jolenta 
Maria Laskarina 


i'* x & y 

The King's 

sarcophagus at 



Tomb effigy, 

The Cracow Gate 
in Szydlow, part 
of the city walls 

established by the 

Bedzin Castle; in 1348 the King 

upgraded it from a wooden 

fortress to a stone one 

Ruins of the Ogrodzieniec Castle, 
built on the King's order 

Ruins of the 

Castle in 

Kazimierz Dolny; 

the King extended 

it in the 1340s 

Statue of the 
King in 


near his 



Basilica in 

Wislica, funded 

by the King, and 

built in the third 

quarter of the 

14th century 

Casimir III the Great 


Saint Ladislaus 

Church in 


established by the 

King in 1355 

Saint Catherine Church in 

Kazimierz, founded by the 

King in 1363 

Latin Cathedral in Lviv, 

construction began in 1360 on 

the King's order 

the Castle in Sanok, built on the 
King's order 

Herma of Saint Sigismund 

of Burgundy, founded by 

the King for Plock 


Kazimierz the Great, by 
Marcello Bacciarelli 

Kazimierz the Great, by Jan 


[1] Royal titles in Latin: Kazimirus, Dei gracia rex Polonice ac terrarum Cracovice, Sandomirice, Syradiie, Lanciciie, Cuyaviie, Pomeranice, 

Russiequce dominus et heres. 
[2] CICO-X, pp.189 

[3] Peter Jackson-the Mongols and the West, p. 21 1 
[4] "In Poland, a Jewish Revival Thrives — Minus Jews". New York Times. 12 July 2007. "Probably about 70 percent of the world's European 

Jews, or Ashkenazi, can trace their ancestry to Poland — thanks to a 14th-century king, Casimir III, the Great, who drew Jewish settlers from 

across Europe with his vow to protect them as "people of the king."" 
[5] Zamek Ogrodzieniecki w Podzamczu ( (Polish) 

External links 

• His listing in "Medieval lands" by Charles Cawley. The project "involves extracting and analysing detailed 
information from primary sources, including contemporary chronicles, cartularies, necrologies and testaments." 
( htm#KazimierzIIIdiedl370) 

Catherine the Great 


Catherine the Great 

Catherine the Great 



1 A. 





Catherine II by Fyodor Rokotov 
Empress and Autocrat of All the Russias 



9 July 1762-17 November 1796 
12 September 1762 

Peter III 
Paul I 


Empress consort of All the Russias 

25 December 1761 - 9 July 1762 


Peter III of Russia 

3 illegitimate children 

Paul I of Russia 


Full name 

Sophie Friederike Auguste 








• House of Romanov 

• House of Ascania 

Christian Augustus, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst 

Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp 

2 May 1729 

Stettin, Pomerania, Kingdom of Prussia, Holy Roman Empire 

17 November 1796 (aged 67) 
Saint Petersburg, Russia 

Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg 

Lutheranism, then Eastern Orthodox 

Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great (Russian: EicaTepiiHa II BenHKaa, Yekaterina II Velikaya; 
German: Katharina die Grofie), Empress of Russia (2 May [O.S. 21 April] 1729 — 17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796), 

Catherine the Great 194 

was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from 9 July [O.S. 28 June] 1762 until 
her death at the age of 67. She was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia as Sophie Friederike Auguste von 
Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, and came to power following a coup d'etat and the assassination of her husband, Peter III, 
at the end of the Seven Years' War. Russia was revitalized under her reign, growing larger and stronger than ever and 
becoming recognized as one of the great powers of Europe. 

In both her accession to power and in rule of her empire, Catherine often relied on her noble favourites, most notably 
Grigory Orlov and Grigory Potemkin. Assisted by highly successful generals such as Pyotr Rumyantsev and 
Alexander Suvorov, and admirals such as Fyodor Ushakov, she governed at a time when the Russian Empire was 
expanding rapidly by conquest and diplomacy. In the south, the Crimean Khanate was crushed following victories 
over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish wars, and Russia colonised the vast territories of Novorossiya along 
the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas. In the west, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled by Catherine's 
former lover, king Stanislaw August Poniatowski, was eventually partitioned, with the Russian Empire gaining the 
largest share. In the east, Russia started to colonise Alaska, establishing Russian America. 

Catherine reformed the administration of Russian guberniyas, and many new cities and towns were founded on her 
orders. An admirer of Peter the Great, Catherine continued to modernize Russia along Western European lines. 
However, military conscription and economy continued to depend on serfdom, and the increasing demands of the 
state and private landowners led to increased levels of exploitation of serfs. This was one of the chief reasons behind 
several rebellions, including the large-scale Pugachev's Rebellion of cossacks and peasants. 

The period of Catherine the Great's rule, the Catherinian Era, is often considered the Golden Age of the Russian 
Empire and the Russian nobility. The Manifesto on Freedom of the Nobility, issued during the short reign of Peter III 
and confirmed by Catherine, freed Russian nobles from compulsory military or state service. Construction of many 
mansions of the nobility, in the classical style endorsed by the Empress, changed the face of the country. A notable 
example of enlightened despot, a correspondent of Voltaire and an amateur opera librettist, Catherine presided over 
the age of the Russian Enlightenment, when the Smolny Institute, the first state-financed higher education institution 
for women in Europe, was established. 

Catherine the Great 


Early life 

Catherine's father Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst 
belonged to the ruling family of Anhalt, but held the rank of 
a Prussian general in his capacity as Governor of the city of 
Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland). Born as Sophia Augusta 
Fredericka (German: Sophie Friederike Auguste von 
Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, nicknamed "Figchen") in Stettin, 
Pomerania, two of her first cousins became Kings of 
Sweden: Gustav III and Charles XIII. In accordance with the 
custom then prevailing in the ruling dynasties of Germany, 
she received her education chiefly from a French governess 
and from tutors. Catherine's childhood was quite uneventful. 
She herself once wrote to her correspondent Baron Grimm: 
"I see nothing of interest in it. Although Catherine was 
born a princess, her family had very little money. Catherine 
was to come to power based on her mother's relations to 
wealthy members of royalty 


Young Catherine soon after the arrival to Russia, by Louis 

The choice of Sophia as wife of her second cousin, the 
prospective tsar Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, resulted from 
some amount of diplomatic management in which Count 
Lestocq, Peter's aunt (the ruling Russian Empress Elizabeth), 
and Frederick II of Prussia took part. Lestocq and Frederick wanted to strengthen the friendship between Prussia and 
Russia in order to weaken Austria's influence and ruin the Russian chancellor Bestuzhev, on whom Empress 
Elizabeth relied, and who acted as a known partisan of Russo-Austrian co-operation. Catherine first met Peter III at 
the tender age of ten. Based on her writings, she found Peter detestable upon meeting him. She disliked his pale 
complexion and his fondness of alcohol at such a young age 


The diplomatic intrigue failed, largely due to the intervention of Sophia's mother, Johanna Elisabeth of 
Holstein-Gottorp. Historical accounts portray her as a cold, abusive woman who loved gossip and court intrigues. 
Johanna's hunger for fame centered on her daughter's prospects of becoming empress of Russia, but she infuriated 
Empress Elizabeth, who eventually banned her from the country for spying for King Frederick of Prussia. The 
empress knew the family well: she herself had intended to marry Princess Johanna's brother Charles Augustus (Karl 
August von Holstein), who had died of smallpox in 1727 before the wedding could take place. Nonetheless, 
Elizabeth took a strong liking to the daughter, who on arrival in Russia spared no effort to ingratiate herself not only 
with the Empress Elizabeth, but with her husband and with the Russian people. She applied herself to learning the 
Russian language with such zeal that she rose at night and walked about her bedroom barefoot repeating her lessons 
(though she mastered the language, she retained an accent). This led to a severe attack of pneumonia in March 1744. 
When she wrote her memoirs, she said she made up her mind when she came to Russia to do whatever was 
necessary, and to profess to believe whatever was required of her, to become qualified to wear the crown. 

Catherine the Great 


Princess Sophia's father, a devout German Lutheran, opposed his 
daughter's conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy. Despite his objection, on 
28 June 1744 the Russian Orthodox Church received Princess Sophia 
as a member with the new name Catherine {Yekaterina or Ekaterina) 
and the (artificial) patronymic AneicceeBHa (Alekseyevna, daughter of 
Aleksey). On the following day the formal betrothal took place. The 
long -planned dynastic marriage finally occurred on 21 August 1745 at 
Saint Petersburg. Sophia had turned 16; her father did not travel to 
Russia for the wedding. The bridegroom, known then as Peter von 
Holstein-Gottorp, had become Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (located in 
the north-west of present-day Germany near the border with Denmark) 
in 1739. 

As she recalls herself in her memoirs, as soon as she arrived in Russia 

she fell ill with a pleuritis which almost killed her. She says she owes 

her survival to frequent bloodletting; in one single day she had four 

phlebotomies. Her mother, being opposed to this practice, fell into the 

Empress' disfavour. When her situation looked desperate, her mother 

wanted her confessed by a Lutheran priest; she however, awaking from her delirium, said: "I don't want any 

Lutheran; I want my orthodox father." This raised her in the empress' estimation. 

The newly weds settled in the palace of Oranienbaum, which remained the residence of the "young court" for many 
years to come. 

Count Andrei Shuvalov, chamberlain to Catherine, knew the diarist James Boswell well, and Boswell reports that 
Shuvalov shared private information regarding the monarch's intimate affairs. Some of these rumours included that 
Peter took a mistress (Elizabeth Vorontsova), while Catherine carried on liaisons with Sergei Saltykov, Grigory 
Grigoryevich Orlov (1734—1783), Stanislaw August Poniatowski, Alexander Vasilchikov, and others. She became 
friends with Princess Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, the sister of her husband's mistress, who introduced her to 
several powerful political groups that opposed her husband. Peter Ill's temperament became quite unbearable for 
those who resided in the palace. He would announce trying drills in the morning to male servants who would later 
join Catherine in her room to sing and dance until late hours. Catherine became pregnant with her second child, 
Anna,who would only live to be four months old, in 1759. Due to various rumors of Catherine's promiscuity, Peter 
was led to believe that he was not the child's biological father and is known to have proclaimed, "Go to the devil!" 
when Catherine angrily dismissed his accusation. She thus spent much of this time alone in her own private boudoir 

Portrait by George Christoph Grooth of the Grand 

Duchess Ekaterina Alekseyevna around the time 

of her wedding, 1745. 

to hide away from Peter's abrasive persona and his disapproved war tactics 


Catherine the Great 


Tsar Peter III reigned only six months; he died on 17 July 

Hartwig Ernst von Bernstorff). 

Of the period before her accession to the Russian throne, 
Catherine said: "Happiness and unhappiness are in the heart 
and spirit of each one of us: if you feel unhappy, then place 
yourself above that and act so that your happiness does not 
get to be dependent on anything.' 


The reign of Peter III and the coup d'etat 
of July 1762 

After the death of the Empress Elizabeth on 5 January 1762 
(OS: 25 December 1761), Peter, the Grand Duke of 
Holstein-Gottorp, succeeded to the throne as Peter III of 
Russia, and Catherine became Empress Consort of Russia. 
The imperial couple moved into the new Winter Palace in 
Saint Petersburg. 

The new Tsar's eccentricities and policies, including a great 
admiration for the Prussian king, Frederick II, alienated the 
same groups that Catherine had cultivated. Besides, Peter 
intervened in a dispute between his Duchy of Holstein and 
Denmark over the province of Schleswig (see Count Johann 

On the night of June 28, 1762, Catherine the Great was awoken and given the news that one of her co-conspirators 
had been arrested by her estranged husband, and that all they had been planning must take place at once. She left the 
palace and departed for the Ismailovsky regiment, where Catherine delivered a speech asking the soldiers to protect 
her from her husband. Catherine then left with the regiment to go to the Semenovsky Barracks where the clergy was 
waiting to ordain her as sole ruler of the Russian throne. She had her husband, Peter, arrested and forced him to sign 
a document of abdication, leaving no one to dispute her ascension to the throne. Shortly after being arrested, Peter 
was strangled by his guards. Some speculate that Catherine had ordered this done, but there is no evidence to back 
this theory. 

Russia and Prussia fought each other during the Seven Years' War (1756—1763) until Peter's accession. Peter's 
insistence on supporting Frederick II of Prussia, who had seen Berlin occupied by Russian troops in 1760 but now 
suggested partitioning Polish territories with Russia, eroded much of his support among the nobility. 

Catherine the Great 


In July 1762, barely six months after becoming the Tsar, Peter 
committed the political error of retiring with his Holstein-born 
courtiers and relatives to Oranienbaum, leaving his wife in Saint 
Petersburg. On 8 and 9 July, the Leib Guard revolted, deposed Peter 
from power, and proclaimed Catherine the Empress of Russia. The 
bloodless coup succeeded. 

On 17 July 1762 — eight days after the coup and just six months after 

his accession to the throne — Peter III died at Ropsha, at the hands of 

Alexei Orlov (younger brother to Gregory Orlov, then a court favorite 

and a participant in the coup). Historians find no evidence for 

Catherine's complicity in the supposed assassination. Other 

potential rival claimants to the throne existed: Ivan VI (1740—1764), in 

closed confinement at Schliisselburg, in Lake Ladoga, from the age of 

6 months; and Princess Tarakanova (1753—1775). Ivan VI was 

assassinated during an attempt to free him as part of a failed coup 

against Catherine. Apparently, Catherine had given strict instructions 

to kill the royal captive in just such an instance, so her innocence here 

is unclear. (Ivan was thought to be insane because of his years of solitary confinement so might have made a poor 

emperor, even as a figurehead). 

Equestrian portrait of the Grand Duchess 
Yekaterina Alexeyevna 

Catherine, although not descended from any previous Russian emperor, succeeded her husband as Empress Regnant. 
She followed the precedent established when Catherine I (born in the lower classes in the Swedish East Baltic 
territories) succeeded her husband Peter the Great in 1725. 

Historians debate Catherine's technical status, seeing her as a Regent or as an usurper, tolerable only during the 
minority of her son, Grand Duke Paul. In the 1770s, a group of nobles connected with Paul (Nikita Panin and others) 
considered a new coup to depose Catherine and transfer the crown to Paul, whose power they envisaged restricting in 
a kind of constitutional monarchy. However, nothing came of this, and Catherine reigned until her death. 

Reign (1762-1796) 

Foreign affairs 

During her reign Catherine extended the borders of the Russian Empire southward and 
westward to absorb New Russia, Crimea, Northern Caucasus, Right-Bank Ukraine, 
Belarus, Lithuania, and Courland at the expense, mainly, of two powers — the Ottoman 
Empire and the Polish— Lithuanian Commonwealth. All told, she added some 200000 


square miles (unknown operator: u'strong' km ) to Russian territory. 

Catherine's foreign minister, Nikita Panin (in office 1763—81), exercised considerable 
influence from the beginning of her reign. A shrewd statesman, Panin dedicated much 
effort and millions of rubles to setting up a "Northern Accord" between Russia, Prussia, 
Poland, and Sweden, to counter the power of the Bourbon— Habsburg League. When it 
became apparent that his plan could not succeed, Panin fell out of favor and Catherine 
had him replaced with Ivan Osterman (in office 1781—97). 

Catherine the Great 


Catherine agreed to a commercial treaty with Great Britain in 1766, but stopped short of a full military alliance. 

Although she could see the benefits of Britain's friendship, she was wary of Britain's increased power following its 

victory in the Seven Years War, which threatened the European balance of power. 

Russo-Turkish Wars 

While Peter the Great had succeeded only in gaining a 
toehold in the south on the edge of the Black Sea in the Azov 
campaigns, Catherine completed the conquest of the south. 
Catherine made Russia the dominant power in south-eastern 
Europe after her first Russo-Turkish War against the 
Ottoman Empire (1768—74), which saw some of the heaviest 
defeats in Turkish history, including the Battle of Chesma 
(5-7 July 1770) and the Battle of Kagul (21 July 1770). 

The Russian victories allowed Catherine's government to 
obtain access to the Black Sea and to incorporate present-day 
southern Ukraine, where the Russians founded the new cities 
of Odessa, Nikolayev, Yekaterinoslav (literally: "the Glory 
of Catherine"; the future Dnepropetrovsk), and Kherson. The 
Treaty of Kiiciik Kaynarca, signed 10 July 1774, gave the 
Russians territories at Azov, Kerch, Yenikale, Kinburn, and 
the small strip of Black Sea coast between the rivers Dnieper 
and Bug. The treaty also removed restrictions on Russian 
naval or commercial traffic in the Azov Sea, granted to 
Russia the position of protector of Orthodox Christians in the 
Ottoman Empire, and made the Crimea a protectorate of Russia. 

Catherine annexed the Crimea in 1783, nine years after the Crimean Khanate had gained nominal 
independence — which had been guaranteed by Russia — from the Ottoman Empire as a result of her first war against 
the Turks. The palace of the Crimean khans passed into the hands of the Russians. In 1786 Catherine conducted a 
triumphal procession in the Crimea, which helped provoke the next Russo-Turkish War. 

The Ottomans re-started hostilities in the second Russo-Turkish War (1787—92). This war, catastrophic for the 
Ottomans, ended with the Treaty of Jassy (1792), which legitimized the Russian claim to the Crimea and granted the 
Yedisan region to Russia. 

Equestrian portrait of Catherine in the Preobrazhensky 
Regiment's uniform 

Relations with Western Europe 

A 1791 British caricature of an attempted 

mediation between Catherine (on the right, 

supported by Austria and France) and Turkey 

Catherine longed for recognition as an enlightened sovereign. She 
pioneered for Russia the role that Britain later played through most of 
the nineteenth and early twentieth century as an international mediator 
in disputes that could, or did, lead to war. She acted as mediator in the 
War of the Bavarian Succession (1778—79) between the German states 
of Prussia and Austria. In 1780 she established a League of Armed 
Neutrality, designed to defend neutral shipping from the British Royal 
Navy during the American Revolution. 

Catherine the Great 


From 1788 to 1790 Russia fought in the Russo-Swedish War against Sweden, a conflict instigated by Catherine's 
cousin, King Gustav III of Sweden, who expected to simply overtake the Russian armies still engaged in war against 
the Ottoman Turks and hoped to strike Saint Petersburg directly. But Russia's Baltic Fleet checked the Royal 
Swedish navy in a tied battle off Hogland (July 1788), and the Swedish army failed to advance. Denmark declared 
war on Sweden in 1788 (the Theater War). After the decisive defeat of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Svensksund 
in 1790, the parties signed the Treaty of Varala (14 August 1790), returning all conquered territories to their 
respective owners and confirming the Treaty of Abo. Peace ensued for 20 years, aided by the assassination of Gustav 
III in 1792. 

The partitions of Poland 

In 1764 Catherine placed Stanislaw Poniatowski, her former lover, on 
the Polish throne. Although the idea of partitioning Poland came from 
the King Frederick II of Prussia, Catherine took a leading role in 
carrying it out in the 1790s. In 1768 she formally became protector of 
the Polish— Lithuanian Commonwealth, which provoked an 
anti-Russian uprising in Poland, the Confederation of Bar (1768—72). 
After smashing the uprising she established in the Rzeczpospolita, a 
system of government fully controlled by the Russian Empire through 
a Permanent Council, under the supervision of her ambassadors and 

After the French Revolution of 1789, Catherine rejected many 

principles of the Enlightenment that she had once viewed favorably. 

Afraid that the May Constitution of Poland (1791) might lead to a 

resurgence in the power of the Polish— Lithuanian Commonwealth and 

that the growing democratic movements inside the Commonwealth 

might become a threat to the European monarchies, Catherine decided 

to intervene in Poland. She provided support to a Polish anti-reform 

group known as the Targowica Confederation. After defeating Polish loyalist forces in the Polish— Russian War of 

1792 and in the Kosciuszko Uprising (1794), Russia completed the partitioning of Poland, dividing all of the 

remaining Commonwealth territory with Prussia and Austria (1795). 

Catherine II of Russia by Johann Baptist von 
Lampi the Elder. 

Relations with Japan 

In the Far East, Russians became active in fur trapping in Kamchatka and in the Kuril Islands. This spurred Russian 
interest in opening trade with Japan to the south for supplies and food. In 1783 storms drove a Japanese sea captain, 
Daikokuya Kodayu, ashore in the Aleutian Islands, at that time Russian territory. Russian local authorities helped his 
party, and the Russian government decided to use him as a trade envoy. On 28 June 1791, Catherine granted Kodayu 
an audience at Tsarskoye Selo. Subsequently, in 1792, the Russian government dispatched a trade mission to Japan, 
led by Adam Laxman. The Tokugawa shogunate received the mission, but negotiations failed. 

Catherine the Great 201 

Banking and finance 

In 1768 the Assignation Bank was tasked with issuing the first government paper money. It opened in St. Petersburg 
and in Moscow in 1769. Several bank branches were afterwards established in other towns, called government 
towns. Paper notes were issued upon payment of similar sums in copper money, which were also refunded upon the 
presentation of those notes. 

The emergence of these Assignation rubles was necessary due to large government spending on military needs, 
which led to a shortage of silver in the treasury (transactions, especially in foreign trade, were conducted almost 
exclusively in silver and gold coins). Assignation rubles circulated on equal footing with the silver ruble; there was 
an ongoing market exchange rate for these two currencies. The use of these notes continued until 1849. 

Arts and culture 

Catherine had a reputation as a patron of the arts, literature, and education. The Hermitage Museum, which now 
occupies the whole Winter Palace, began as Catherine's personal collection. At the instigation of her factotum, Ivan 
Betskoy, she wrote a manual for the education of young children, drawing from the ideas of John Locke, and 
founded (1764) the famous Smolny Institute, which admitted young girls of the nobility. 

She wrote comedies, fiction, and memoirs, while cultivating Voltaire, Diderot, and dAlembert — all French 
encyclopedists who later cemented her reputation in their writings. The leading economists of her day, such as 
Arthur Young and Jacques Necker, became foreign members of the Free Economic Society, established on her 
suggestion in Saint Petersburg in 1765. She lured the scientists Leonhard Euler and Peter Simon Pallas from Berlin 
and Anders Johan Lexell from Sweden to the Russian capital. 

Catherine enlisted Voltaire to her cause, and corresponded with him for 15 years, from her accession to his death in 
1778. He lauded her accomplishments, calling her "The Star of the North" and the "Semiramis of Russia" (in 
reference to the legendary Queen of Babylon, a subject on which he published a tragedy in 1768). Though she never 
met him face to face, she mourned him bitterly when he died. She acquired his collection of books from his heirs, 
and placed them in the National Library of Russia. 

Within a few months of her accession in 1762, having heard that the French government threatened to stop the 
publication of the famous French Encyclopedic on account of its irreligious spirit, Catherine proposed to Diderot that 
he should complete his great work in Russia under her protection. 

Four years later, in 1766, she endeavored to embody in legislation the principles of Enlightenment she learned from 
studying the French philosophers. She called together at Moscow a Grand Commission — almost a consultative 
parliament — composed of 652 members of all classes (officials, nobles, burghers and peasants) and of various 
nationalities. The Commission had to consider the needs of the Russian Empire and the means of satisfying them. 
The Empress herself prepared the "Instructions for the Guidance of the Assembly", pillaging (as she frankly 
admitted) the philosophers of Western Europe, especially Montesquieu and Cesare Beccaria. 

As many of the democratic principles frightened her more moderate and experienced advisers, she refrained from 
immediately putting them into execution. After holding more than 200 sittings the so-called Commission dissolved 
without getting beyond the realm of theory. 

Catherine the Great 


In spite of this, Catherine began issuing codes to 

address some of the modernization trends 

suggested in her Nakaz. In 1775 the Empress 

decreed a Statute for the Administration of the 

Provinces of the Russian Empire. The Statute 

sought to efficiently govern Russia by increasing 

population and dividing the country into 

provinces and districts. By the end of her reign, 

there were fifty provinces, nearly 500 districts, 

more than double the government officials, and 

they were spending six times as much as 

previously on local government. In 1785 

Catherine conferred on the nobility the Charter to the Nobility, increasing further the power of the landed oligarchs. 

Nobles in each district elected a Marshal of the Nobility who spoke on their behalf to the monarch on issues of 

concern to them, mainly economic ones. In the same year, Catherine issued the Charter of the Towns, which 

distributed all people into six groups as a way to limit the power of nobles and create a middle estate. Catherine also 

issued the Code of Commercial Navigation and Salt Trade Code of 1781, the Police Ordnance of 1782, and the 

Statue of National Education of 1786. In 1777, the Empress described to Voltaire her legal innovations within a 

backward Russia as progressing "little by little". 

During Catherine's reign, Russians imported and studied the classical and European influences that inspired the 
Russian Enlightenment. Gavrila Derzhavin, Denis Fonvizin, and Ippolit Bogdanovich laid the groundwork for the 
great writers of the nineteenth century, especially for Alexander Pushkin. Catherine became a great patron of 
Russian opera (see Catherine II and opera for details). 

When Alexander Radishchev published his Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow in 1790 (one year after the start 
of the French Revolution) and warned of uprisings because of the deplorable social conditions of the peasants held as 
serfs, Catherine exiled him to Siberia. 

Catherine the Great 



W*ti¥: ; 


■ ~" ^ -i 

WW Jw 


^K^ M 

^^^u»d^ ^K 

Catherine held western European philosophies and culture close to her 

heart and she wanted to surround herself with like-minded people 

within Russia. She believed a 'new kind of person' could be created 

by inoculating Russian children with European education. Catherine 

believed education could change the hearts and minds of the Russian 

people and turn them away from backwardness. This meant developing 

individuals both intellectually and morally, providing them knowledge 

and skills, and fostering a sense of civic responsibility 


Yekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova, the closest 

female friend of Empress Catherine and a major 

figure of the Russian Enlightenment. 

Catherine appointed Ivan Betskoy as her adviser on educational 
matters. Through him, she collected information from Russia and 
other countries about educational institutions. She also established a 
commission composed of T.N. Teplov, T. con Klingstedt, F.G. Dilthey, 
and the historian G. Muller. She consulted British education pioneers, 
particularly Rev. Daniel Dumaresq and Dr. John Brown. In 1764 
Catherine sent for Dumaresq to come to Russia and then appointed him 
to the educational Commission. The Commission studied the reform 
projects previously installed by I.I. Shuvalov under Elizabeth and 
under Peter III. They submitted recommendations for the establishment 
of a general system of education for all Russian orthodox subjects from 
the age of 5 to 18, excluding serfs. However, no action was taken on any recommendations put forth by the 
Commission due to the calling of the Legislative Commission. In July 1765 Dumaresq wrote to Dr. John Brown 
about the commission's problems and received a long reply containing very general and sweeping suggestions for 
education and social reforms in Russia. Dr. Brown argued that in a democratic country, education ought to be under 
the state's control and based on an education code. He also placed great emphasis on the "proper and effectual 
education of the female sex"; two years prior, Catherine had commissioned Ivan Betskoy to draw up the General 


Program for the Education of Young People of Both Sexes. This work emphasized the fostering of the creation of 
a 'new kind of people' raised in isolation from the damaging influence of a backward Russian environment. The 
Establishment of the Moscow Foundling Home (Moscow Orphanage) was the first attempt at achieving that goal. It 
was charged with admitting destitute and extramarital children in order to educate them in any way the state deemed 
fit. Since the Moscow Foundling Home was not established as a state funded institution, the Home represented an 
opportunity to experiment with new educational theories. However, the Moscow Foundling Home was unsuccessful, 
mainly due to extremely high mortality rates, which prevented many of the children from living long enough to 
develop into the enlightened subjects the state desired 


Catherine the Great 


Not long after the Moscow Foundling Home, 
Catherine established the Smolny Institute for 
Noble Girls to educate females. The Smolny 
Institute was the first of its kind in Russia. At first 
the Institute only admitted young girls of the 
noble elite, but eventually it began to admit girls 
of the petit-bourgeoisie as well. The girls that 
attended the Smolny Institute, Smolyanki, were 
often accused of being ignorant of anything that 
went on in the world outside the walls of the 
Smolny buildings. Within the walls of the 
Institute they were taught impeccable French, 
musicianship, dancing, and complete awe of the 
Monarch. At the Institute, enforcement of strict 
discipline was central to its philosophy. Running 
and games were forbidden and the building was 
kept particularly cold because it was believed that 
too much warmth was harmful to the developing 


The Moscow Orphanage. 

body, as was excess play 


During the years 1768—1774, there was no 

progress made in setting up a national school 

system. Catherine continued to investigate 

educational theory and practice of other countries. 

She made many educational reforms despite the 

lack of a national school system. The remodeling 

of the Cadet Corps 1766 initiated many 

educational reforms. It then began to take children 

from a very young age and educate them until the 

age of 21. The curriculum was broadened from the professional military curriculum to include the sciences, 

philosophy, ethics, history, and international law. This policy in the Cadet Corps influenced the teaching in the Naval 

Cadet Corps and in the Engineering and Artillery Schools. After the war and the defeat of Pugachov, Catherine laid 

the obligation to establish schools at the guberniya — a provincial subdivision of the Russian empire ruled by a 

governor — on the Boards of Social Welfare set up with the participation of elected representatives from the three 

The Smolny Institute, the first Russian Institute for Noble Maidens and the 
first European state higher education institution for women 

free estates 


By 1782 Catherine arranged another advisory commission to study the information gathered about the educational 

systems of many different countries. A system produced by a mathematician, Franz Aepinus, stood out in 

particular. He was strongly in favor of the adoption of the Austrian three-tier model of trivial, real, and normal 

schools at village, town, and provincial capital level. In addition to the advisory commission, Catherine established a 

Commission of National Schools under Pyotr Zavadovsky. This commission was charged with organizing a national 

school network, training the teachers, and providing the textbooks. On 5 August 1786, the Russian Statute of 

National Education was promulgated. The Statute established a two-tier network of high schools and primary 

schools in guberniya capitals that were free of charge, open to all of the free classes (non-serfs), and co-educational. 

It also regulated, in detail, the subjects to be taught at every age and the method of teaching. In addition to the 

textbooks translated by the Commission, teachers were provided with the Guide to Teachers. This work, divided into 

four parts, dealt with teaching methods, the subjects taught, the behavior of the teacher, and the running of a 



Catherine the Great 


Judgment of the 19th century was generally critical, claiming that Catherine failed to supply enough money to 

T271 i 

support her educational program. Two years after the implementation of Catherine s program, a member of the 

National Commission inspected the institutions established. Throughout Russia, the inspectors encountered a patchy 

response. While the nobility put up appreciable amounts of money for these institutions, they preferred to send their 

children to private, more prestigious institutions. Also, the townspeople tended to turn against the junior schools and 

their pedagogical methods. It is estimated that about 62,000 pupils were being educated in some 549 state institutions 

near the end of Catherine's reign. This was only a minuscule number of people compared to the size of the Russian 



Religious affairs 

Catherine's apparent whole-hearted adoption of all things 

Russian (including Orthodoxy) may have prompted her 

personal indifference to religion. She did not allow 

dissenters to build chapels, and she suppressed religious 

dissent after the onset of the French Revolution 


Politically, Catherine exploited Christianity in her 

anti-Ottoman policy, promoting the protection and fostering 

of Christians under Turkish rule. She placed strictures on 

Roman Catholics (ukaz of 23 February 1769), mainly Polish, 

and attempted to assert and extend state control over them in 

the wake of the partitions of Poland. Nevertheless, 

Catherine's Russia provided an asylum and a base for 

re-grouping to the Society of Jesus following the suppression 

of the Jesuits in most of Europe in 1773 


Catherine II in the Russian national costume. 


Catherine took many different approaches to Islam during 
her reign. Between 1762 and 1773, Muslims were actively 

prohibited from owning any Orthodox serfs. They were also 

pressured into Orthodoxy through monetary incentives. Catherine promised more serfs of all religions, as well as 

amnesty for convicts, if Muslims chose to convert to Orthodoxy. However, the Legislative Commission of 1767 

offered several seats to people professing the Islamic faith. This Commission promised to protect their religious 

rights, but did not do so. Many Orthodox peasants felt threatened by the sudden change, and burned mosques as a 

sign of their displeasure. Catherine chose to assimilate Islam into the state rather than eliminate it when public 

outcry against equality got too disruptive. After the "Toleration of All Faiths" Edict of 1773, Muslims were 

permitted to build mosques and practice all of their traditions, the most obvious of these being the pilgrimage to 


Mecca, which had been denied previously. Catherine created the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly to help 
regulate Muslim-populated regions, as well as regulate the instruction and ideals of Mullahs. The positions on the 
Assembly were appointed and paid for by Catherine and her government, as a way of regulating the religious affairs 

of her nation 


In 1785 Catherine approved the subsidization of new mosques and new town settlements for Muslims. This was 
another attempt to organize and passively control the outer fringes of her country. By building new settlements with 
mosques placed in them, Catherine attempted to ground many of the nomadic people that wandered through southern 
Russia. In 1786 Catherine assimilated the Islamic schools into the Russian public school system, to be regulated 
by the government. The plan was another attempt to force nomadic people to settle. This allowed the Russian 

Catherine the Great 


government to control more people, especially those who previously had not fallen under the jurisdiction of Russian 


Russia often treated Judaism as a separate entity, where Jews were maintained with a separate legal and bureaucratic 
system. Although the government knew that Judaism existed, Catherine and her advisers had no real definition of 
what a "Jew" is, since the term meant many things during her reign. Judaism was a small, if not nonexistent, 
religion in Russia until 1772. When Catherine agreed to the First Partition of Poland, Jews were treated as a separate 
people, defined by their religion. In keeping with their treatment in Poland, Catherine allowed the Jews to separate 

themselves from Orthodox society, with certain restrictions. She levied taxes only on the followers of Judaism; if a 

family converted to the Russian faith, that tax was lifted. Jewish members of society were required to pay double 

the tax of their Orthodox neighbors. Converted Jews could gain permission to enter the merchant class and farm as 

free peasants under Russian rule. 

In an attempt to assimilate the Jews into Russia's economy, Catherine included them under the rights and laws of the 

Charter of the Towns of 1782. While this presented some benefits for Jews — they received recognition as equals 

to any Orthodox citizen — many people attempted to take advantage of this equality. Orthodox Russians disliked the 

inclusion of Judaism, mainly for economic reasons; many Jews were bankers and merchants. Catherine tried to keep 

the Jews away from certain economic spheres, even with a ruse of equality; in 1790, she banned Jewish citizens from 

Moscow's middle class. 

i r4ii 

In 1785 Catherine declared that Jews were officially foreigners, with foreigners rights. This reestablished the 
separate identity that Judaism maintained in Russia throughout the Jewish period of failed assimilation. Catherine's 
decree also denied Jews the rights of an Orthodox or naturalized citizen of Russia. Taxes doubled again for those of 
Jewish descent in 1794, and Catherine officially declared that Jews bore no relation to Russians. 

Russian Orthodoxy 

St. Catherine Cathedral in Kingisepp, an example of Russian 

In many ways, the Orthodox Church fared no better than its 

foreign counterparts during the reign of Catherine. Under her 

leadership, she completed what Peter III had started; the 

church's lands were appropriated, and the budget of both 

monasteries and bishoprics were controlled by the College of 

Economy. Endowments from the government replaced 

income from privately held lands. The endowments were 

often much less than the original intended amount. She 

closed 569 out of 954 monasteries and only 161 got 

government money. Only 400,000 rubles of church wealth 

was paid back. While other religions (such as Islam) 

received invitations to the Legislative Commission, the 

Orthodox clergy did not receive a single seat. Their place 

in government was restricted severely during the years of 

Catherine's reign. 

In 1762, to help mend the rift between the Orthodox church 
and a sect that called themselves the Old Believers, 

Catherine passed an act that allowed Old Believers to 

practice their faith openly without interference. While 

Catherine the Great 


claiming religious tolerance, she intended to recall the Believers into the official church. They refused to comply, 

and in 1764 Catherine deported over 20,000 Old Believers to Siberia on the grounds of their faith. In later years, 

Catherine amended her thoughts. Old Believers were allowed to hold elected municipal positions after the Urban 

Charter of 1785, and she promised religious freedom to those who wished to settle in Russia. 

Religious education was also strictly reviewed. At first, she simply attempted to revise clerical studies, proposing a 
reform of religious schools. This reform never progressed beyond the planning stages. By 1786 Catherine excluded 
all religion and clerical studies programs from lay education. By separating the public interests from those of the 
church, Catherine began a secularization of the day-to-day workings of Russia. She transformed the clergy from a 
group that wielded great power over the Russian government and its people to a segregated community forced to 
depend on the state for compensation 


Personal life 

Catherine, throughout her long reign, took many lovers, often 

elevating them to high positions for as long as they held 

her interest, and then pensioning them off with gifts of serfs 

and large estates. The percentage of state money spent on the 

court increased from 10.4% in 1767 to 11.4% in 1781 to 

13.5% in 1795. Catherine gave away 66,000 serfs 1762-72, 

202,000 1773-93 and 100,000 in one day: 18 August 

1795. Just as the church supported her hoping to get 

their land back, Catherine bought the support of the 

bureaucracy by making promotion up the 14 ranks automatic 

after a certain time period, regardless of position or merit. 

Thus, the bureaucracy was populated with time servers 


After her affair with her lover and adviser Grigori 

Alexandra vich Potemkin ended in 1776, he allegedly 

selected a candidate-lover for her who had the physical 

beauty and mental faculties to hold her interest (such as 

Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov). Some of these men loved 

her in return, and she always showed generosity towards 

them, even after the affair ended. One of her lovers, Pyotr 

Zavadovsky, received 50,000 rubles, a pension of 5,000 

rubles, and 4,000 peasants in the Ukraine after she dismissed him in 1777. LJ1J The last of her lovers, Prince Zubov, 

was 40 years her junior. Her sexual independence led to many of the legends about her. 

Count Grigory Orlov, by Fyodor Rokotov. 


In her memoirs, Catherine indicated that her first lover, Serge Saltykov, had fathered Paul, but Paul physically 

resembled her husband, Peter. Catherine kept near Tula, away from her court, her illegitimate son by Grigori 


Orlov, Alexis Bobrinskoy (later created Count Bobrinskoy by Paul). Catherine and Orlov had another child, a 
daughter, called Elizabeth Alexandrovna Alexeeva (born in Saint Petersburg, 1761 — died 1844), born one year 
before Alexis. She married (1787) Friedrich Maximilian Klinger and from this marriage she had one son, Alexander, 
who apparently died young in 1812. 

Catherine the Great 



Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, the British ambassador to Russia, 
offered Stanislaw Poniatowski a place in the embassy, in return for 
gaining Catherine as an ally. Poniatowski, through his mother's side, 
came from the Czartoryski family, prominent members of the 
pro-Russian faction in Poland. Catherine, 26 years old and already 
married to the then-Grand Duke Peter for some 10 years, met the 
22-year-old Poniatowski in 1755, therefore well before encountering 
the Orlov brothers. In 1757 Poniatowski served in the British forces 
during the Seven Years' War, thus severing close relationships with 
Catherine. She bore him a daughter named Anna Petrovna in 
December 1757 (not to be confused with Grand Duchess Anna 
Petrovna of Russia, the daughter of Peter I's second marriage). 

King Augustus III of Poland died in 1763, and therefore Poland needed 
to elect a new ruler. Catherine supported Poniatowski as a candidate to 
become the next king. 

Catherine sent the Russian army into Poland to avoid possible disputes. 

Russia invaded Poland on 26 August 1764, threatening to fight, and 

imposing Poniatowski as become king. Poniatowski accepted the 

throne, and thereby put himself under Catherine's control. News of Catherine's plan spread and Frederick II (others 

say the Ottoman sultan) warned her that if she tried to conquer Poland by marrying Poniatowski, all of Europe would 

oppose her strongly. 

She had no intention of marrying him, having already given birth to Orlov's child and to the Grand Duke Paul by 
then. She told Poniatowski to marry someone else to remove all suspicion. Poniatowski refused; he never married. 

Prussia (through the agency of Prince Henry), Russia (under Catherine), and Austria (under Maria Theresa) began 
preparing the ground for the partitions of Poland. In the first partition, 1772, the three powers split 20000 square 


miles (unknown operator: u'strong' km ) between them. Russia got territories east of the line connecting, more or 
less, Riga— Polotsk— Mogilev. 

In the second partition, in 1793, Russia received the most land, from west of Minsk almost to Kiev and down the 
river Dnieper, leaving some spaces of steppe down south in front of Ochakov, on the Black Sea. 

After this, uprisings in Poland led to the third partition, 1795, one year before Catherine's death. 

Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last King of 


Grigory Orlov, the grandson of a rebel in the Streltsy Uprising (1698) against Peter the Great, distinguished himself 
in the Battle of Zorndorf (25 August 1758), receiving three wounds. He represented an opposite to Peter's 
pro-Prussian sentiment, with which Catherine disagreed. By 1759 he and Catherine had become lovers; no one told 
Catherine's husband, the Grand Duke Peter. Catherine saw Orlov as very useful, and he became instrumental in the 
28 June 1762 coup d'etat against her husband, but she preferred to remain the Dowager Empress of Russia, rather 
than marrying anyone. 

Catherine the Great 


Grigory Orlov and his other three brothers found themselves rewarded 
with titles, money, swords, and other gifts. But Catherine did not marry 
Grigory, who proved inept at politics and useless when asked for 
advice. He received a palace in St. Petersburg when Catherine became 

Orlov died in 1783. His and Catherine's son, Aleksey Grygoriovich 
Bobrinsky (1762—1813), had one daughter, Maria Alexeeva Bobrinsky 
(Bobrinskaya) (1798-1835), who married in 1819 the 34-year-old 
Prince Nikolai Sergeevich Gagarin (London, England, 12 July 1784 — 
25 July 1842) who took part in the Battle of Borodino (7 September 
1812) against Napoleon, and later served as Ambassador in Turin, the 
capital of the Duchy of Savoy. 

Catherine the Great's natural son by Count 

Grigory Orlov -Aleksey Grigorievich Bobrinsky, 

(1 1 April 1762 - 20 June 1813 in his estate of 

Bogoroditsk, near Tula). Born three months 

before the deposition and assassination by the 

Orlov brothers of her husband Peter III 


Catherine II and Potemkin on the Millennium Monument in 

Grigory Potemkin had had involvement in the coup d'etat of 
1762. In 1772, Catherine's close friends informed her of 
Orlov's affairs with other women, and she dismissed him. By 
the winter of 1773 the Pugachev revolt had started to 
threaten. Catherine's son Paul had also started gaining 
support; both of these trends threatened her power. She 
called Potemkin for help — mostly military — and he became 
devoted to her. 

In 1772 Catherine wrote to Potemkin. Days earlier, she had 
found out about an uprising in the Volga region. She 
appointed General Aleksandr Bibikov to put down the 
uprising, but she needed Potemkin's advice on military 

Potemkin quickly gained positions and awards. Russian 
poets wrote about his virtues, the court praised him, foreign 
ambassadors fought for his favor, and his family moved into 
the palace. He later became governor of New Russia. 

In 1780, the son of Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa, 
Emperor Joseph II, toyed with the idea of determining 
whether or not to enter an alliance with Russia, and asked to 
meet Catherine. Potemkin had the task of briefing him and 
traveling with him to Saint Petersburg. 

Potemkin also convinced Catherine to expand the universities in Russia to increase the number of scientists. 

Catherine the Great 210 

Potemkin fell very ill in August 1783. Catherine worried that he would not finish his work developing the south as 
he had planned. Potemkin died at the age of 52 in 1791. 

The Serfs 

Rights and Conditions under Catherine's Rule 

At the time of Catherine's reign, the landowning noble class owned the serfs, who were bound to the land that they 
tilled. Children of serfs were born into serfdom and worked the same land that their parents had. The serfs had very 

limited rights, but they were not exactly slaves. While the state did not technically allow them to own possessions, 

some serfs were able to accumulate enough wealth to pay for their freedom. The understanding of law in imperial 

Russia by all sections of society was often weak, confused, or nonexistent, particularly in the provinces where most 

serfs lived. This is why some serfs were able to do things such as accumulate wealth. To become a serf, someone 

would give up their freedoms to a landowner in exchange for their protection and support in times of hardship. In 

addition, they would receive land to till but would be taxed a certain percentage of their crop to give to their 

landowner. These were the privileges to which a serf was entitled and which nobles were bound to carry out. All of 

this was true before Catherine's reign, and this is the system she inherited. 

Catherine did initiate some changes to serfdom though. If the nobles did not live up to their side of the deal, then the 
serfs could file complaints against them by following the proper channels of law. Catherine gave them this new 
right, but in exchange they could no longer appeal directly to her. She did this because did not want to be bothered 
by the peasantry but did not want to give them reason to revolt either. In this act though, she unintentionally gave the 
serfs a legitimate bureaucratic status that they had lacked before. Some serfs were able to use their new status to 

their advantage. For example, serfs could apply to be freed if they were under illegal ownership, and non-nobles 

were not allowed to own serfs. Some serfs did apply for freedom and were, surprisingly, successful. In addition, 

some governors listened to the complaints of serfs and punished nobles. But this was by no means all-inclusive. 

Other than these, the rights of a serf were very limited. A landowner could punish his serfs at his discretion, and 

under Catherine the Great gained the ability to sentence his serfs to hard labor in Siberia, a punishment normally 

reserved for convicted criminals. The only thing a noble could not do to one of his serfs was to kill him or her. 

The life of a serf belonged to the state. Historically, when the serfs faced problems they could not solve on their own 

(such as abusive masters) they often appealed to the autocrat, and continued doing so during Catherine's reign even 

though she signed legislation prohibiting it. Although she did not want to communicate directly with the serfs, she 

did create some measures to improve their conditions as a class and reduce the size of the institution of serfdom. For 

example, Catherine took action to limit the number of new serfs; she eliminated many ways for people to become 

serfs, culminating in the manifesto of 17 March 1775, which prohibited a serf who had once been freed from 

becoming a serf again. However, she also restricted the freedoms of many peasants. During her reign, Catherine 

gave away many state peasants (peasants owned by the state) to become private serfs (peasants owned by a 

landowner), and while their ownership changed hands, a serf's location never did. However, peasants owned by the 

state generally had more freedoms than those owned by a noble. 

While the majority of serfs were farmers bound to the land, a noble could also have his serfs sent away to learn a 
trade or be educated at a school, in addition to employing them at businesses that paid wages. This happened 
more often during Catherine's reign because of the new schools she established. Only in this way could a serf leave 
the farm he was responsible for. 

Catherine the Great 


Mentality and Attitude Towards Catherine 

The attitude of the serfs toward their autocrat had historically been a positive one. They did not always like what he 
did, but the Tsar always knew what was best, so they listened to him unquestioningly. 

However, if the Tsar's policies were too extreme or too disliked then obviously he was not the true Tsar. In these 
cases, it was necessary to replace this "fake" Tsar with the "true" Tsar, whoever he may be. Because the serfs had no 
political power, they rioted to get their message across. But usually, if the serfs did not like the policies of the Tsar 
they saw the nobles as corrupt and evil, preventing the people of Russia from communicating with the 
well-intentioned Tsar and misinterpreting his decrees. However, they were already suspicious of Catherine upon her 
accession because she had annulled an act by Peter III that had essentially freed the serfs belonging to the Orthodox 
Church. Naturally, the serfs did not like it when Catherine tried to take away their right to petition her because 
they felt as though she had severed their connection to the autocrat, and their power to appeal to her. Far away from 
the capital, they were also confused as to the circumstances of her ascension to the throne. 

The peasants were discontented because of many other factors as well, including plague, crop failure, and epidemics, 
including a major epidemic in 1771. The nobles were also imposing a stricter rule than ever, reducing the land of 
each serf and restricting their freedoms further beginning around 1767. Their discontent led to widespread 
outbreaks of violence and rioting during Pugachev's Rebellion of 1774. The serfs probably followed someone who 
was pretending to be the true Tsar because of their feelings of disconnection to Catherine and her policies 
empowering the nobles, but this was not the first time that they followed a pretender under Catherine's reign. 
Pugachev had made stories about himself acting as a real tsar should, helping the common people, listening to their 
problems, praying for them, and generally acting saintly, and this helped rally the peasants and serfs, with their very 
conservative values, to his cause. With all this discontent in mind, Catherine did rule for ten years before the 
anger of the serfs boiled over into a rebellion as extensive as Pugachev's. But under Catherine's rule, despite her 
enlightened ideals, the serfs were generally unhappy and discontent. 

Final months and death 

Though Catherine's life and reign included remarkable personal 
successes, they ended with two failures. Her Swedish cousin (once 
removed) King Gustav IV Adolph visited her in September 1796, the 
empress's intention being that her granddaughter Alexandra should 
become Queen of Sweden by marriage. A ball was given at the 
imperial court on 11 September, when the engagement was supposed 
to be announced. Gustav Adolph felt pressured to accept the fact that 
Alexandra would not be converting to Lutheranism, and though he was 
delighted by the young lady, he refused to appear at the ball and left for 
Stockholm. Catherine was so irritated at this that her health was 
impacted. She recovered well enough to begin to plan a ceremony 
where a favorite grandson would supersede her difficult son on the 
throne, but she died of a stroke before the announcement could be 
made, just over two months after the engagement ball. 

On 16 November [O.S. 5 November] 1796, Catherine rose early in the 
morning and had her usual morning coffee, soon settling down to work 
on papers at her study. Her lady's maid, Maria Perekusikhina, had 
asked the Empress if she had slept well, and Catherine reportedly 

Portrait of Catherine in an advanced age, with the 
Chesme Column in the background. 

replied that she had not slept so well in a long time 


Catherine the Great 212 

Sometime after 9:00 am that morning, Catherine went to her dressing room and collapsed on the floor. Worried by 
Catherine's absence, her attendant, Zakhar Zotov, opened the door and peered in. Catherine's body was sprawled on 
the floor. Her face appeared purplish, her pulse was weak, and her breathing was shallow and labored. The 
servants lifted Catherine from the floor and brought her to the bedroom. Some 45 minutes later, the royal court's 
Scottish physician, Dr. John Rogerson, arrived and determined that Catherine had suffered a stroke. Despite 

all attempts to revive the Empress, she fell into a coma from which she never recovered. Catherine was given the 
Last Rites and died the following evening at approximately 9:45 pm. An autopsy performed on her body the next 
day confirmed the cause of death as stroke. 

Catherine's undated will, discovered in early 1792 by her secretary Alexander Vasilievich Khrapovitsky among her 
papers, gave specific instructions should she die: "Lay out my corpse dressed in white, with a golden crown on my 
head, and on it inscribe my Christian name. Mourning dress is to be worn for six months, and no longer: the shorter 
the better." In the end, the Empress was laid to rest with a gold crown on her head and clothed in a silver brocade 

dress. On 25 November, the coffin, richly decorated in gold fabric, was placed atop an elevated platform at the 

Grand Gallery's chamber of mourning, designed and decorated by Antonio Rinaldi. Catherine was buried at 

the Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. 

The claim that her death was caused by a sexual incident involving a horse is a myth and has no basis. 


1. Emperor Paul I of Russia (1 October 1754 — 23 March 1801), officially fathered by Catherine's husband, 
Emperor Peter III of Russia, but claimed by Catherine to be the son of her lover, Count Serge Saltykov 

2. Anna Petrovna (9 December 1757 — 8 March 1758), fathered by Catherine's lover, the future King Stanislaus II 
of Poland 

3. Elizabeth Alexandrovna Alexeeva (1761—1844), married to Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, fathered by 
Catherine's lover, Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov 

4. Count Alexei Grigorievich Bobrinsky (11 April 1762 — 20 June 1813), also fathered by Orlov 

Catherine the Great 


Romanov dynastic issues 

Pretenders and potential pretenders to the 

• Ivan VI of Russia (born 1740), as a former Tsar (reigned 
as an infant, 1740—1741), represented a potential focus of 
dissident support for successive rulers of Russia, who held 
him in prison. When she became Empress in 1762 
Catherine tightened the conditions of his incarceration. 
His jailers in the prison of Shlisselburg killed Ivan, as per 
standing instructions, in the course of an attempt to free 
him in 1764. 

• Yemelyan Pugachev (1740/1742—1775) identified himself 
in 1773 as Tsar Peter III of Russia (Catherine's late 
husband). His armed rebellion, aiming to seize power and 
to banish the Empress to a monastery, became a serious 
menace until crushed in 1774. The authorities had 
Pugachev executed in Moscow in January 1775. 

• Princess Tarakanova (1753—1775) declared herself in 
Paris in 1774 as Elizabeth's daughter by Alexis 
Razumovsky and as the sister of Pugachev. The Empress 

Catherine dispatched Alexey Orlov to Italy, where he captured Tarakanova in Livorno. When brought to Russia in 
1775, Tarakanova went to prison in the Peter and Paul Fortress, where she died of tuberculosis in December 

[741 [751 

1775. There are rumors that this death was faked and that she was confined to a nunnery in Moscow in 

Paul I of Russia, Catherine's son and successor. 

1785, where she died in 1810 


The Rise of Pretenders 

During the eighteenth century there were no fewer then forty-four pretenders in Russia, twenty-six of which were 
during Catherine's reign. Pretenders plagued Catherine the Great's reign in a way unmatched by any other period in 
Russian history. At least seventeen of the twenty-six pretenders during Catherine's reign appeared in one of three 
clusters; six from 1764—1765, six from 1772—1774, and five from 1782—1786. Pretenders did not plague Catherine's 
reign because of her sex or nationality since pretenders never threatened other female rulers or rulers of foreign 
descent in the way that Catherine II was. The rise of pretenders was not related to war or famine as neither appeared 
consistently with the pretenders. If there tended to be any form of famine during a pretender's rise it was during their 
claim to power and not inspired by it. Catherine's illegitimate rise to power through the assassination of her husband, 
Peter III, did not inspire the pretenders since Elizabeth II, who came to power in a similar fashion to Catherine, never 
had the same problem. Evidence suggests that pretenders plagued Catherine's reign for economic reasons. An 
important correlation between the three clusters is that the economic standing of serfs was declining. The condition 
of serfs worsened at the start of Catherine's reign because there was a sharp increase, 47%, in the number of peasants 
on state land and an establishment of a poll tax. The decline of pretenders illustrates the correlation between the 
conditions of serfs and the appearance of pretenders in the last third of Catherine's reign because she improved legal 
and economic conditions for the serfs to deter future pretenders. The serfs were not the only social group that 
suffered from worsening economic conditions. Leading into Catherine's reign both the odnodvortsy and cossacks 
faced a harsh decline in their economic standing. The odnodvortsy were particularly upset about the decline in their 
economic standing because they were descendents of wealthy landowning servicemen. The odnodvortsy were 

Catherine the Great 214 

angered even more in some regions of Russia as land lords expanded their property claiming odnodvortsy and 
peasants as serfs. The declining standing of the odnodvortsy and cossacks created motivation to become pretenders 
especially during the 1960s. Even more importantly the odnodvortsy and cossacks were vital support for pretenders 
because of their military experience. 

At least sixteen pretenders during Catherine's reign claimed that they were the deposed tsar, Peter III. A less 
common position pretenders claimed during Catherine's reign was that of Ivan VI. Ivan VI was a potential threat to 
Catherine since he was exiled as an infant and could lay claim to the throne. Peter III was the more popular option 
for pretenders since there existed legends that he was not actually dead, allowing pretenders to convince discontented 
Russians they were Peter III. Peter III was also popular among Russians because of his benevolent rule. Pretenders 
claiming to be Peter III using his popularity among Russians to gain support. Pretenders had to be careful to establish 
themselves as the ruler they claimed to be without being recognized as a normal mortal and not of royal blood. One 
popular way to prevent recognition was to claim their right to royalty far from their home as both Emal'Ian Ivanovich 
Pugachev and the pretender Artem'ev did. Pretenders also had to account for where they had disappeared to for the 
time since their reported deaths. For example, Pugachev claimed that he spent the eleven years since Peter Ill's 


reported death wandering abroad as far as Egypt or Constantinople. 

Pretenders and Royal Marks 

Many Russians believed that tsars and tsarevichs bore special marks on their bodies symbolizing their royal status 

which became known as royal marks. Four of the pretenders claiming to be Peter III showed royal marks to 

legitimize their claims. The first fake Peter to have royal marks was Gavrila Kremnev who Lev Evdokimov 

recognized because of a cross on Kremnev's foot. Lev Evdokimov claimed that he had worked as a chorister at the 

royal palace and had held the real Peter III in his arms as a child therefore giving credibility to Kremnev's claims. 

Despite Kremnev's marking, he never gained many supporters and was flogged and branded with the words, 

"deserter and pretender". The next fake Peter III to show a royal mark of some sort was Fedot Kazin-Bogomolov in 

1772. He showed a guard where he was imprisoned a cross on his chest and claimed he had two more on his arm and 

head allowing him to gain many supporters. The government branded Kazin-Bogomolov despite his markings. The 

third Peter III with royal marks was the most famous of the four and the most successful pretender of the time, 

Pugachev. In 1773 Pugachev staged a revealing of his royal identity to a cossack, Eremina Kuritsa, leading other 

cossacks to challenge Pugachev at dinner, which resulted in him showing scars on his chest and head to the cossacks. 

Pugachev claimed the scars on his chest were caused from the coup against him and that the scars on his forehead 

were from smallpox. Pugachev's rational reasoning for his markings caused him to continually gain supporters 

throughout his stand as a pretender. Unlike the first two pretenders to show royal marks, Pugachev's efforts cost him 

his life since his punishment was execution. The final pretender during Catherine's reign to reveal royal marks was 

Makar Mosiakin in 1774. Mosiakin entered a peasant hut claiming to be Peter III and then proceeded to show the 

peasants crosses on his arms which he claimed to represent royal inheritance. According the official report of the 

Mosiakin he had made the cross marks himself to convince people that he was Peter III and he actually had some 

success as he managed to gain followers from various villages as he went from house to house. 

Succession to the throne 

On a date already set for a week after she died, Catherine had intended to formally announce that Paul would be 
excluded from the succession, and that the crown would go to her eldest grandson, Alexander (whom she greatly 
favored, and who subsequently became the emperor Alexander I in 1801). Her harshness towards Paul probably 
stemmed as much from political distrust as from what she saw of his character. Keeping Paul in a state of 
semi-captivity in Gatchina and Pavlovsk, she resolved not to allow her son to dispute or to share in her authority 
during her lifetime. 

Catherine the Great 215 

Titles and styles 

• 2 May 1729 — 21 August 1745: Her Serene Highness Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst 

• 21 August 1745 — 25 December 1761: Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Catherine Alekseievna of Russia 

• 25 December 1761 — 9 July 1762: Her Imperial Majesty The Empress of All the Russias (as Empress consort) 

• 9 July 1762 — 17 November 1796: Her Imperial Majesty The Empress and Autocrat of All the Russias (as 
Empress regnant) 

In popular culture 

_jgflL nAtjIiiT^ 



j T .---'■'- '■¥*' -Jr 

1910 100-ruble banknote 

Catherine commissioned "The Bronze Horseman" statue, which 
stands in Saint Petersburg on the banks of the Neva River. She had 
the large boulder it stands on transported from several leagues 
away. Catherine had it inscribed with the Latin phrase "Petro Primo 
Catharina Secunda MDCCLXXXII," meaning "Catherine the 
Second to Peter the First, 1782," to gain legitimacy by connecting 
herself to the "Founder of Modern Russia." This statue later inspired 
Pushkin's famous poem The Bronze Horseman (1833). 

Numerous dramatizations based on the life of Catherine II have 

• The 1934 film Catherine the Great (based on the play The Czarina by Lajos Biro and Melchior Lengyel) stars 
Elisabeth Bergner as Catherine. 

• Also in 1934, the film The Scarlet Empress appeared, directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring Marlene 

• In 1944, Mae West's Broadway play Catherine Was Great dealt humorously with the many men in the 

. i-x. [80] 

empress s life. 

• In 1945 A Royal Scandal, directed by Ernst Lubitsch and Otto Preminger, stars Tallulah Bankhead and Charles 

• A 1991 TV miniseries Young Catherine features Julia Ormond in the role of Catherine. 

• Catherine Zeta- Jones portrayed Catherine in the 1995 television movie Catherine the Great. 

• In 2005 Emily Bruni portrayed the empress in the feature length PBS documentary Catherine the Great. 
One of Serbia's most famed New Wave bands, Ekatarina Velika (which translates as "Catherine the Great") 
(1982—94), took its name from Catherine II of Russia. 

Folk rock songwriter Freddy Blohm's "Catherine, You're Great!" relates Catherine's most infamous myth from an 

equine point of view. 

The Barenaked Ladies song "Go Home" has a line concerning this urban legend as well: "If you think of her as 

Catherine the Great // Then you should be the horse to help her meet her fate." 

Catherine appears with George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, Robert Clive, and other past world leaders in 

an early 2000s Play Station 2 version of the game RISK. 

The Grateful Dead song "Hell In a Bucket" has the line "Well we know you're the reincarnation of the ravenous 

Catherine the Great." 

In the 2002 television series Clone High, the clone of JFK supposedly has sex with Catherine's clone, 

complaining when someone disturbs his activities that he's "trying to nail Catherine the Great" — but quickly 

corrects himself, adding "Or should I say, Catherine the So-So." Catherine's clone appears several times in the 

series, depicted as having an hourglass figure, blonde curly hair, and speaking with a California Valley Girl 

accent. She usually wears white pedal pushers and a light blue midriff top. 

German chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly has a picture of Catherine II in her office, and characterises her as a 

strong woman. 

Catherine the Great 


• The Russian slang word for money "babki" (literally: "old women") refers to the image of Catherine II printed on 
pre-Revolution 100-ruble banknotes. 

• In the anime Le Chevalier D'Eon, a young Catherine the Great appears under her Russian name of Ekaterina. As 
in real life, she takes over Russia from Peter (Pyotr). She despises him and has no problems overthrowing him. 
Jessica Boone voices the character in the English adaptation, and Sachiko Takaguchi in the Japanese version. 

• In the computer games Civilization III, Civilization V, and Civilization Revolution, Catherine is the sole option as 
the leader of the Russian Empire. In Civilization II, Catherine is the female leader while Lenin is the male 
counterpart, while in Civilization IV, Catherine is one leader choice; other choices are Peter I, or Stalin with 
Warlords Expansion. Diplomacy dialogue with Catherine in Civilization IV as well as the body languague of the 
animation portray her as promiscuous, in reference to her private life and the legends. 

• In The Big Bang Theory episode, "The Skank Reflex" (22 September 201 1), Amy tries to comfort Penny by 
contrasting her sleeping with Raj, after a night of heavy drinking, to the myth that Catherine the Great once "used 
an intricate system of pulleys to have intimate relations with a horse," with her point being that "she engaged in 

interspecies hanky-panky, and people still call her great. 



Equestrian portrait of Catherine 
II in the attire of a male officer 

Portrait by Albert 

Albertrandi of Catherine II, 

circa 1770 

Portrait by Mikhail 

Shibanov of Catherine II in 

traveling-costume, 1787 

Portrait of Catherine II by 
Dmitry Levitsky, by 1782 



[I] Sergeant, Philip W. The Courtships of Catherine the Great (Kessinger Publishing, 2004), 5. 
[2] Streeter, Michael. Catherine the Great (Haus Publishing, 2007), 3. 

[3] Massie2011,pp. 10-19 

[4] Streeter, Michael. Catherine the Great (Haus Publishing, 2007), 6. 

[5] Sergeant, Philip W. The Courtships of Catherine the Great (Kessinger Publishing, 2004), 34. 

[6] Sergeant, Philip W. The Courtships of Catherine the Great (Kessinger Publishing, 2004), 62. 

[7] Troyet biografi in Swedish by Harald Bohrn, p. 127 

[8] Alexander, lohn (1989). Catherine the Great: Life and Legend. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. 

[9] Erickson, Carolly (1994). Great Catherine: The life of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. New York, New York: Crown Publishers, 

[10] Rounding 2006 

[II] Memoirs of Decembrist Michael Fonvizin (nephew of writer Denis Fonvizin who belonged to the constitutionalists' circle in the 1770s); see: 
<I>ohbh3hh MA. CoHunemm u nuchMa: T. 2. — HpnyrcK, 1982. C. 123 [Fonvizin, M.A.: Works and letters, volume 2. Irkutsk: 1982, page 123] 

[12] Rodger 2005, p. 328 

[13] Max, "If these walls. ...Smolny's Repreated Roles in History," Russian Life (2006) : 19—24. 
[14] Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia (New York: Oxford University Press, 201 1). 

[15] Isabel De Madariaga, "The Foundation of the Russian Educational System by Catherine II", Slavonic and East European Review (1979) : 

Catherine the Great 


[16] N. Hans, "Dumaresq, Brown and Some Early Educational Projects of Catherine II", Slavonic and East European Review (1961) : 229—235. 

[17] Madariaga, "Foundation", 374. 

[18] Hans, "Dumaresq", 233. 

[19] Dixon 2009, p. 130 

[20] Catherine Evtuhov, A History of Russia: Peoples, Legends, Events, Forces (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004). 

[21] Max, "If these walls", 20. 

[22] Max, "If these walls", 21. 

[23] Madariaga, "Foundation", 379. 

[24] Madariaga, "Foundation," 380. 

[25] Madariaga, "Foundation", 383. 

[26] Madariaga, "Foundation", 385. 

[27] Madariaga, "Foundation", 391. 

[28] Madariaga, "Foundation", 394. 

[29] "Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1911" ( . Retrieved 24 March 2007. 

[30] "The Religion of Russia" ( . Retrieved 24 March 2007. 

[31] Fisher 1968, p. 544 

[32] Fisher 1968, p. 545 

[33] Fisher 1968, p. 546 

[34] Fisher 1968, p. 548 

[35] Fisher 1968, p. 549 

[36] Klier 1976, p. 505 

[37] Klier 1976, pp. 506-507 

[38] Klier 1976, p. 507 

[39] Klier 1976, p. 511 

[40] Klier 1976, p. 512 

[41] Klier 1976, p. 515 

[42] Raeff, Mark. Catherine the Great: A Profile (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972), 293. 

[43] Hoskingl997, p. 231 

[44] Richard Pipes, Russia under the old regime, page 242 

[45] Raeff, Mark. Catherine the Great: A Profile (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972), 294. 

[46] Hosking 1997, p. 237 

[47] Raeff, Mark. Catherine the Great: A Profile (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972), 296. 

[48] Raeff, Mark. Catherine the Great: A Profile (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972), 298. 

[49] Alexander, John. Catherine the Great, life and legend, p. 224 

[50] Pipes, Richard. Russia under the old regime 

[51] Farquhar, Michael (2001). A Treasure of Royal Scandals. New York.: Penguin Books, p. 7. ISBN 0-7394-2025-9 

[52] Genealogical Dates in Stoyan ( According 

to this site, Catherine had two children from her marriage to Peter III before the birth of Paul, one on 14 December 1752 and the other on 2 or 

3 August 1753. The gender of these children remains unknown. The date of the end of the second pregnancy may indicate a miscarriage. After 
Paul, Catherine bore a daughter, Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna, in Saint Petersburg on 20 December 1757. As with Paul, rumours made the 
lover of her mother by that time, Stanislaw August Poniatowski her biological father, but these remain unproven. Grand Duchess Anna died in 
Peterhof on 19 March 1759 aged only fifteen months. 

[53] Genealogy ( CZ: EU Web. . Retrieved 14 September 2011 

[54] Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter, "Legal Identity and the Possession of Serfs in Imperial Russia," The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 70, No. 3 
(September 1998), 564 

[55] Isabel de Madriaga, "Catherine II and the Serfs: A Reconsideration of Some Problems", The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 52, 
No. 126 (Jan., 1974), 48-51 

[56] Witschafter, "Legal Identity", 563-564 

[57] Witschafter, "Legal Identity", 565-567 

[58] Madriaga, "Catherine II", 42-46 

[59] Madriaga, "Catherine II", 48-51 

[60] Madriaga, "Catherine II", 35 

[61] Witschafter, "Legal Identity", 567 

[62] Marc Raeff, "Pugachev's Rebellion," in Preconditions of Revolution in EarlyEurope, The Johns Hopkins Press, 1972, 170 

[63] Raeff, "Pugachev's Rebllion", 166-169 

[64] Raeff, "Pugachev's Rebellion", 171 

[65] Raeff, "Pugachev's Rebellion", 171-172 

[66] Henri Troyat in Catherine la Grande (Swedish translation by Harald Bohrn Katarina den stora : 1729—1796 ISBN 978-91-1-952612-0) p. 

Catherine the Great 218 

[67] Rounding 2006, p. 499 

[68] Dixon 2009, p. 315 

[69] Rounding 2006, p. 502 

[70] Dixon 2009, p. 314 

[71] Rounding 2006, p. 503 

[72] Dixon 2009, p. 318 

[73] Barabara and David P. Mikkelson (29 February 2012). "Barenaked Lust" ( 

Snopes. . 
[74] "Tarakanova, knyazhna [Princess Tarakanova]" (http://slovari. yandex. ru/dict/brokminor/article/38/38636.html&stparl=13. 242.1) (in 

in Russian). Malyi entsiklopedicheskii slovar'. Brokgaus i Efron. 1890—1906. . Retrieved 11 July 2009. 
[75] "Tarakanova Elizaveta [Yelizaveta Tarakanova]" (http://slovari. htm&stparl=28. 554.1) (in in 

Russian). Bol'shaya sovetskaya entsikolpediya, 3rd edition. Sovetskaya entsiklopediya. 1969—1978. . Retrieved 1 1 July 2009. 
[76] "Tarakanova, knyazhna [Princess Tarakanova]" (http://slovari. yandex. ru/dict/brokminor/article/38/38636.html&stparl=13. 242.1). 

Malyi entsiklopedicheskii slovar'. Brokgaus i Efron. 1890—1906. . 
[77] Philip Longworth, "The Pretender Phenomenon in Eighteenth-Century Russia," Past & Present 66 (1975): 66—71. 
[78] Philip Longworth, "The Pretender Phenomenon in Eighteenth-Century Russia," Past & Present 66 (1975): 70—77. 
[79] Maureen Perrie, "Royal Marks", Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 1 1 (2010): 535, 546—549. 
[80] Eells; Musgrove. Mae West, a biography, p. 326. ISBN 0-688-00816-X 
[81] She has no idea who really won the 1966 World Cup IWorld news IThe Guardian ( 

[82] The Big Bang Theory: The Catherine the Great Theorem (Ep. 1) ( 



• De Madariaga, Isabel. Catherine the Great: A Short History (Paperback). Yale University Press, New Haven and 
London, (1993). ISBN 0-300-04845-9 (hardbook), ISBN 0-300-05427-0 (paperback), 240 pages. 

• Dixon, Simon (2009). Catherine the Great. Ecco. ISBN 978-0-06-078627-4. 

• Fisher, Alan W. (1968). "Enlightened Despotism and Islam under Catherine II". Slavic Review 27 (4): 542—553. 
JSTOR 2494437. 

• Hosking, Geoffrey (1997). Russia: People and Empire, 1552—1917. Harvard University Press. 

• Klier, John D. (1976). "The Ambiguous Legal Status of Russian Jewry in the Reign of Catherine II". Slavic 
Review 35 (3): 504-517. JSTOR 2495122. 

• Kolchin, Peter (1990) [First published 1987]. Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom. Cambridge, 
Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-92098-9. 

• Massie, Robert K. (201 1). Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. New York: Random House. 
ISBN 978-0-679-45672-8. 

• Reddaway, W.F. "Documents of Catherine the Great. The Correspondence with Voltaire and the Instruction of 
1767 in the English Text of 1768". Cambridge University Press, (England), (1931), Reprint (1971). 

• Rodger, NAM (2005). Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815. W. W. Norton & 
Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06050-8. 

• Rounding, Virginia (2006). Catherine the Great: Love, Sex and Power. London: Hutchinson. 
ISBN 0-09-179992-9. 

Catherine the Great 219 

Further reading 

Alexander, John T. (1988). Catherine the Great: Life and Legend. New York: Oxford University Press. 

ISBN 0-19-505236-6. 

Bilbasov Vasily A. History of Catherine the Great ( Berlin: Publishing 

Frederick Gottgeyner, 1900. At in DjVu and PDF formats 

Bogdanovich Modest I. Russian army in the age of the Empress Catherine II ( 

book3157/10069/). Saint Petersburg: Printing office of the Department of inheritance, 1873. At in 

DjVu and PDF formats 

Brickner Alexander Gustavovich. History of Catherine the Great ( 

Saint Petersburg: Typography of A. Suvorin, 1885. At in DjVu and PDF formats 

Cronin, Vincent. Catherine, Empress of All the Russias. London: Collins, 1978 (hardcover, ISBN 

0-00-216119-2); 1996 (paperback, ISBN 1-86046-091-7). 

Dixon, Simon. Catherine the Great (Profiles in Power). Harlow, UK: Longman, 2001 (paperback, ISBN 


Herman, Eleanor. Sex With the Queen. New York: HarperCollins, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-06-084673-9). 

Madariaga, Isabel de. Catherine the Great: A Short History . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990 

(hardcover, ISBN 0-300-04845-9); 2002 (paperback, ISBN 0-300-09722-0). 

Massie, Robert K., "Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman". New York. Random House, 201 1. (hardcover, 

ISBN 978-0-679-45672-8) 

The Memoirs of Catherine the Great by Markus Cruse and Hilde Hoogenboom (translators). New York: Modern 

Library, 2005 (hardcover, ISBN 0-679-64299-4); 2006 (paperback, ISBN 0-8129-6987-1). 

Memoirs of the Empress Catherine II, written by herself, with a preface by A. Herzen. London, Trilbner, 1859 

(same source as above, in an older translation -from French- and edition; digitized copy available online for free 

in full view in English (http://books. google, com/books ?id=n9QKA A A AI A AJ) and in French (http://books. 

google, com/books ?id=aIwbAAAAMAAJ) -for this French version: same publisher, same year-)( print copies 

(http://books. google. com/books?id=-I47RAAACAAJ) of these digitized books available). 

• Montefiore, Simon Sebag. Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner. New York: Vintage, 2005 
(paperback, ISBN 1-4000-7717-6). 

• Palmer, Elena. "Peter III. Der Prinz von Holstein". Sutton, Germany, 2005 (ISBN 3-89702-788-7). 

• Smith, Douglas, ed. and trans. Love and Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince 
Grigory Potemkin. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois UP, 2004 (hardcover, ISBN 0-87580-324-5); 2005 (paperback 
ISBN 0-87580-607-4). 

• Troyat, Henri. Catherine the Great. New York: Dorset Press, 1991 (hardcover, ISBN 0-88029-688-7); London: 
Orion, 2000 (paperback, ISBN 1-84212-029-8). 

• Troyat, Henri. Terrible Tsarinas. New York: Algora, 2001 (ISBN 1-892941-54-6). 

External links 

• Catherine the Great ( on In Our Time at the BBC. ( listen now 

• Catherine the Great ( @ Chronology 
World History Database 

• Some of the code of laws mentioned above, along with other information ( 
mod/1 8catherine.html) 

• Manifesto of the Empress Catherine II, inviting foreign immigration ( 

• Information about the Battle of Svenskund and the war ( 

Catherine the Great 220 

• Historical Myths: The Death of Catherine the Great (http://europeanhistory.about.eom/od/catherinethegreat/a/ 

• Catherine the Great (http://womenshistory.about.eom/od/catherinegreat/p/catherinegreat.htm) of Russia 

• Briefly about Catherine: The Enlightened Despots ( of Absol - Enlightend 

• (Russian) Family tree of the ancestors of Catherine the Great ( 

• The Princess Who Become Catherine the Great ( @ 
the Ursula's History Web 

• Filmography: 

• The Scarlet Empress (1934): Directed by Josef von Sternberg; starring Marlene Dietrich 

• The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934): Directed by Paul Czinner; starring Elisabeth Bergner 

• Douglas Smith, Love and Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory 
Potemkin ( 

• (Russian) Photos Empress Catherine II of Sevastopol ( 


• "Catherine II.". Encyclopedia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911. 

• @ "Catharine II.". New Internat ional Encyclopedia. 1905. 

Chandragupta II 


Chandragupta II 

Chandragupta II The Great 

Gupta Emperor 

Coin of Chandragupta II the Great, British Museum 


375-415 CE 




Kumara Gupta I 



Royal House 

Gupta dynasty 


Samudra Gupta 


Datta Devi 

Religious beliefs 


Chandragupta II The Great, very often referred to as Vikramaditya or Chandragupta Vikramaditya in 

Sanskrit; was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire in northern India. His rule spanned c. 
380—413/415 CE, during which the Gupta Empire achieved its zenith, art, architecture, and sculpture flourished, and 
the cultural development of ancient India reached its climax. The period of prominence of the Gupta dynasty is 
very often referred to as the Golden Age of India. Chandragupta II was the son of the previous ruler, Samudragupta 
the Great. He attained success by pursuing both a favorable marital alliance and an aggressive expansionist policy in 
this which his father and grandfather (Chandragupta I) set the precedent. Samudragupta set the stage for the 
emergence of classical art, which occurred under the rule of Chandragupta II. Chandragupta II gave great support to 
the arts. Artists were so highly valued under his rule that they were paid for their work — a rare phenomenon in 
ancient civilizations. 

From 388 to 409 he subjugated Gujarat, the region north of Mumbai, Saurashtra, in western India, and Malwa, with 
its capital at Ujjain. Culturally, the reign of Chandragupta II marked a Golden Age. This is evidenced by later 
reports of the presence of a circle of poets known as the Nine Gems in his court. The greatest among them was 
Kalidasa, who authored numerous immortal pieces of literature including Abhijnanasakuntalam. The others included 
Sanskrit grammarian Amara Sinha and the astronomer-mathematician Varahamihira. 

Chandragupta II 


Mentions in literature 

Not much is known about the personal details of Chandragupta II. The 
most widely accepted details have been built upon the plot of the play 
Devi-chandraguptam by Vishakadatta. The play is now lost, but 
fragments have been preserved in other works (such as 
Abhinava-bharati, Sringara-prakasha, Natya-darpana, Nataka-lakshana 
Ratna-kosha). There even exists an Arabic work, written in Persia near 
the Indian subcontinent, Mojmal al-tawarikh (12th century CE) which 
tells a similar tale of a king whose name appears to be a corruption of 
'Vikramaditya'. The name 'Vikramaditya' holds a semi-mythical status 
in India. India has many interesting stories about King Vikramaditya, 
his guru Manva-Patwa and his queens. It is widely believed that the 
great poet in Sanskrit, Kalidasa was one of the jewels of 
Vikramaditya's royal court. 


The Gupta Empire at its maximum extent 

Early life and coronation 

Chandragupta II's mother, Datta Devi, was the chief queen of Samudragupta the Great. After Samudragupta's death 
his elder son, Ramagupta, took over the throne and married Chandragupta II's fiance Dhruvaswamini by force. The 
fragment from Vishakadatta's "Natya-darpana " mentions the king Ramagupta, the elder brother of Chandragupta II, 
deciding to surrender his queen Dhruvaswamini to the Saka ruler of the Western Kshatrapas Rudrasimha III (r. 388 - 
395 CE), after a defeat at the Saka ruler's hands. To avoid the ignominy the Guptas decide to send Madhavasena, a 
courtesan and a beloved of Chandragupta II, disguised as the queen Dhruvaswamini. Chandragupta II changes the 
plan and himself goes to Rudrasimha III disguised as the queen. He then assassinates Rudrasimha III and later his 
brother Ramagupta. Dhruvaswamini is then married to Chandragupta II. 

Historians still don't know what liberties the author Vishakadatta took with the incidents, but Dhruvadevi was indeed 
Chandragupta II's Chief Queen as seen in the Vaisali Terracotta Seal that calls her "Mahadevi" (Chief Queen) 
Dhruvasvamini. The Bilsad Pillar Inscription of their son Kumaragupta I (r. 414—455 CE) also refers to her as 
"Mahadevi Dhruvadevi". Certain "Ramagupta" too is mentioned in inscriptions on Jain figures in the District 
Archaeological Museum, Vidisha and some copper coins found at Vidisha. 

The fact that Chandragupta II and Dhruvadevi are the protagonists of Vishakadatta's play indicates that marrying his 
widowed sister-in-law was not given any significance by the playwright. Later Hindus did not view such a marriage 
with favour and some censure of the act is found in the Sanjan Copper Plate Inscription of Rashtrakuta ruler 
Amoghavarsha I (r. 814-878 CE) and in the Sangali and Cambay Plates of the Govinda IV (r. 930-936 CE). 

Chandragupta II 


Vakataka- Gupta Age 

The Allahabad Pillar Inscription mentions the marriage of Chandragupta II with a Naga princess Kuberanaga. A 

pillar from Mathura referring to Chandragupta II has recently been dated to 388 CE. 

Chandragupta II' s daughter, Prabhavatigupta, by his Naga queen Kuberanaga was married to the powerful Vakataka 
dynasty ruler Rudrasena II (r.380-385 CE). 

His greatest victory was his victory over the 
Shaka-Kshatrapa dynasty and annexation of their 
kingdom in Gujarat, by defeating their last ruler 
Rudrasimha III. 

Gold coins of Chandragupta II the Great. The one on the left is the obverse 

of a so-called "Chhatra" type of Chandragupta II, while the one on the 

right is the obverse of a so-called "Archer" type of Chandragupta II. 

Chandragupta II's son-in-law, the Vakataka ruler 

Rudrasena II, died fortuitously after a very short 

reign in 385 CE, following which Queen 

Prabhavati Gupta (r. 385-405) ruled the Vakataka 

kingdom as a regent on behalf of her two sons. 

During this twenty-year period the Vakataka realm 

was practically a part of the Gupta empire. The 

geographical location of the Vakataka kingdom 

allowed Chandragupta II to take the opportunity to defeat the Western Kshatrapas once for all. Many historians refer 

to this period as the Vakataka-Gupta Age. 

Chandragupta II controlled a vast empire, from the mouth of the Ganges to the mouth of the Indus River and from 
what is now North Pakistan down to the mouth of the Narmada. Pataliputra continued to be the capital of his huge 
empire but Ujjain too became a sort of second capital. The large number of beautiful gold coins issued by the Gupta 
dynasty are a testament to the imperial grandeur of that age. Chandragupta II also started producing silver coins in 
the Saka tradition. 

Visit of Faxian 

Faxian (337 — c. 422 CE) was the first of three great Chinese pilgrims 
who visited India from the fifth to the seventh centuries CE, in search 
of knowledge, manuscripts and relics. Faxian arrived during the reign 
of Chandragupta II and gave a general description of North India at 
that time. Among the other things, he reported about the absence of 
capital punishment, the lack of a poll-tax and land tax. Most citizens 
did not consume onions, garlic, meat, and wine. 

Campaigns against foreign tribes 

4th century CE Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, credits Chandragupta 

Vikramaditya with having conquered about twenty one kingdoms, both 

in and outside India. After finishing his campaign in the East and West 

India, Vikramaditya (Chandra Gupta II) proceeded northwards, 

subjugated the Parasikas (Persians), then the Hunas and the Kambojas 

tribes located in the west and east Oxus valleys respectively. Thereafter, the king proceeds across the Himalaya and 

reduced the Kinnaras, Kiratas etc. and lands into India proper. The Brihatkathamanjari of the Kashmiri writer 

Kshmendra states, king Vikramaditya (Chandra Gupta II) had "unburdened the sacred earth of the Barbarians like the 

Coin of Vikramadytia Chandragupta II with the 
name of the king in Brahmi script, 380^-15 CE. 

Chandragupta II 


Sakas, Mlecchas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Tusharas, Parasikas, Hunas, etc. by annihilating these sinful Mlecchas 
completely". [6][7][8] 

End of Chandragupta II 

Chandragupta II was succeeded by his second son Kumaragupta I, born of Mahadevi Dhruvasvamini 



From Chandragupta II kings of Gupta dynasty are known as Parama Bhagavatas or Bhagavata Vaishnavas. 

The Bhagavata Purana entails the fully developed tenets and philosophy of the Bhagavata tradition wherein Krishna 
gets fused with Vasudeva and transcends Vedic Vishnu and cosmic Hari to be turned into the ultimate object of 
bhakti. [10] 


Chandragupta continued issuing most of the gold 
coin types introduced by his father Samudragupta, 
such as the Sceptre type (rare for Chandragupta II), 
the Archer type, and the Tiger-Slayer type. 
However, Chandragupta II also introduced several 
new types, such as the Horseman type and the 
Lion-slayer type, both of which were used by his 
son Kumaragupta I. 

Silver coin of Chandragupta II the Great, minted in his Western territories, 

in the style of the Western Satraps. Obv:Bust of king, with corrupted 
Greek legend "OOIHU". Rev: Legend in Brahmi, "Chandragupta 

Vikramaditya, King of Kings, and a devotee of Vishnu", around Garuda, 

the mythic eagle and dynastic symbol of the Guptas. 15mm, 2.1 grams. 

Mitchiner 4821-4823. 

In addition, Chandragupta II was the first Gupta 

king to issue silver coins, such as the one 

illustrated at right. These coins were intended to 

replace the silver coinage of the Western 

Kshatrapas after Chandragupta II defeated them, 

and were modeled on the Kshatrapa coinage. The main difference was to replace the dynastic symbol of the 

Kshatrapas (the three-arched hill) by the dynastic symbol of the Guptas (the mythic eagle Garuda). Further, 

Chandragupta also issued lead coins based on Kshatrapa prototypes and rare copper coins probably inspired by the 

coins of another tribe he defeated, the Nagas. 

Chandragupta II 


Vikram-Samvat Calender 

The next day after the Hindu festival Diwali is called Padwa or Varshapratipada, which marks the coronation of 
King Vikramaditya. He was a Hindu king who ruled in first century BCE. The title 'Vikramaditya' was later used by 
Chandragupta II as well. Vikram-Samvat calender starts from 57 BCE. The Hindu Vikram-Samvat calendar is 
celebrated as New Year's Day in Nepal where Vikram Sambat is the official calendar. 

Iron pillar of Delhi 

Close to the Qutub Minar is one of Delhi's most curious structures, an 
iron pillar, dating back to 4th century CE. The pillar bears an 
inscription which states that it was erected as a flagstaff in honour of 
the Hindu god Vishnu, and in the memory of Chandragupta II (A 
derivation of "Natya-darpana " by Vishakadata states that the pillar had 
been put up by Chandragupta II himself after defeating Vahilakas. And 
after this great feat, he put up this pillar as a memory of the victory). 
The pillar also highlights ancient India's achievements in metallurgy. 
The pillar is made of 98% wrought iron and has stood more than 1,600 
years without rusting or decomposing. This iron pillar is similar to the 
pillars of Asoka. 


The iron pillar of Delhi, erected by Chandragupta 
II the Great 

[I] <>. 
[2] AUTHOR TITLE OF PAGE The Gupta Period of India TITLE OF 

PROGRAM Ancient Civilizations Online Textbook URL OF PAGE http://www. DATE OF ACCESS Thursday, November 10, 2011 

[3] <>. 
[4] Falk, Harry. (2004) "The Kaniska era in Gupta Records." Silk Road Art and Archaeology 10. Kamakura: The Institute of Silk Road Studies, 

pp. 167-176. 
[5] Raghu Vamsa v 4.60-75 
[6] ata shrivikramadityo helya nirjitakhilah Mlechchana Kamboja. Yavanan neechan Hunan Sabarbran Tushara. Parsikaanshcha tayakatacharan 

vishrankhalan hatya bhrubhangamatreyanah bhuvo bharamavarayate (Brahata Katha, 10/1/285-86, Kshmendra). 
[7] Kathasritsagara 18.1.76-78 
[8] Cf:"In the story contained in Kathasarit-sagara, king Vikarmaditya is said to have destroyed all the barbarous tribes such as the Kambojas, 

Yavanas, Hunas, Tokharas and the Persians "(See: Ref: Reappraising the Gupta History, 1992, p 169, B. C. Chhabra, Sri Ram; Cf also: 

Vikrama Volume, 1948, p xxv, Vikramaditya Sakari; cf: Anatomiia i fiziologila sel'skokhozia istvennykh zhivotnykh, 1946, p 264, Arthur 

John Arberry, Louis Renou, B. K. Hindse, A. V. Leontovich, National Council of Teachers of English Committee on Recreational Reading — 

Sanskrit language. 
[9] Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5, pp.191-200 
[10] Kalyan Kumar Ganguli: (1988). Sraddh njali, Studies in Ancient Indian History: D.C. Sircar Commemoration: Puranic tradition of Krishna. 

Sundeep Prakashan. ISBN 81-85067-10-4.p.36 

[II] "The conquest is indicated by the issue of the new Gupta silver coinage modelled on the previous Saka coinage showing on observe the 
King's head, Greek script, and dates as on Saka coins" in Early history ofjammu region: pre-historic to 6th century A. D. by Raj Kumar p.511 
( 11) 

[12] "Evidence of the conquest of Saurastra during the reign of Chandragupta II is to be seen in his rare silver coins which are more directly 
imitated from those of the Western Satraps... they retain some traces of the old inscriptions in Greek characters, while on the reverse, they 
substitute the Gupta type (a peacock) for the chaitya with crescent and star." in Rapson "A catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. 
The Andhras etc.", p.cli. Most people now realize that Rapson was mistaken in identifying the central bird as a peacock; rather, it is the 
mythic eagle Garuda, the dynastic symbol of the Guptas. For example, A.S. Altekar says: "... the three-arched hill in the cntre is replaced by 
Garuda, which was the imperial insignia of the Guptas. The view of earlier writers ... that the bird is a peacock is clearly untenable." in 
Altekar: The Coinage of the Gupta Empire, " Varanasi: Banaras Hindu University, 1957, p. 151. 

Chandragupta II 



• R. K. Mookerji, The Gupta Empire, 4th edition. Motilal Banarsidass, 1959. 

• R. C. Majumdar, Ancient India, 6th revised edition. Motilal Banarsidass, 1971. 

• Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, A History of India, 2nd edition. Rupa and Co, 1991. 

External links 

• Coins of Chandragupta II ( 

• Coins of Chandragupta II from the Shivlee Collection ( 



Rex Francorum (King of the Franks,) 

Rex Longobardorum (King of the Lombards) 

Imperator Romanorum (Emperor of the Romans) 



A coin of Charlemagne 

with the inscription KAROLVS IMP AVG ("Carolus Imperator 





Noyon, 9 October 768 
Pavia, 10 July 774 
Rome, 25 December 801 


Pepin the Short 


Louis the Pious 


Pepin the Short 


Bertrada of Laon 


2 April 742 (Unsure) 


28 January 814 (aged around 71) 


Aachen Cathedral 



Blessed Carolus Magnus 

Reliquary of Blessed Charles Augustus 

Honored in 

Roman Catholic Church (Germany and France) 

514, Aachen by a court bishop, later confirmed by Pope Benedict XIV 



1 166 by Antipope Paschal III 


Major shrine 

Aachen Cathedral 

28 lanuary (Aachen and Osnabriick) 


Fleur-de-lis; German Eagle 

Lovers (both licit and illicit), schoolchildren, the Kings of France and Germany, men on horseback, men on the scaffold, crusaders 

Carolingian dynasty 


• Pippin the Elder (c . 5 80-640) 

• Grimoald (616-656) 

• Childebert the Adopted (d. 662) 


Arnulf of Metz (582-640) 
Chlodulf of Metz (d. 696 or 697) 
Ansegisel (c. 602— before 679) 
Pippin the Middle (c. 635-714) 
Grimoald II (d. 714) 
Drogo of Champagne (670-708) 
Theudoald(d. 714) 


Charles Martel (686-741) 
Carloman (d. 754) 
Pepin the Short (7 14-768) 
Carloman I (751-771) 
Charlemagne (d. 8 14) 
Louis the Pious (778-840) 

After the Treaty of Verdun (843) 

• Lothair I, Holy Roman Emperor 

(Middle Francia) 

• Charles the Bald (823-877) 
(Western Francia) 

• Louis the German (804-876) 
(Eastern Francia) 

Charlemagne 228 

Charlemagne ( 4 /'Jarllmeln/ or /'Jarlemeln/; French pronunciation: [JaK.l9.majn]; c. 742— 28 January 814), also 
known as Charles the Great (Latin: Carolus Magnus or Karolus Magnus), was King of the Franks from 768 and 
Emperor of the Romans {Imperator Romanorum) from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom 
into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was 
crowned Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800 in Rome. 

His rule is also associated with the Carolingian Renaissance, a revival of art, religion, and culture through the 
medium of the Catholic Church. Through his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne helped define 
both Western Europe and the European Middle Ages. He is numbered as Charles I in the regnal lists of Germany, 
the Holy Roman Empire, and France. 

The son of King Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, a Frankish queen, he succeeded his father in 768 and was 
initially co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. It has often been suggested that the relationship between Charlemagne 
and Carloman was not good, but it has also been argued that tensions were exaggerated by Carolingian chroniclers. 

Nevertheless further conflict was prevented by the sudden death of Carloman in 771, in unexplained circumstances. 
Charlemagne continued the policy of his father towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards 
from power in Italy, and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain, to which he was invited by the Muslim governor of 
Barcelona. Charlemagne was promised several Iberian cities in return for giving military aid to the governor; 
however, the deal was withdrawn. 

Subsequently, Charlemagne's retreating army experienced its worst defeat at the hands of the Basques, at the Battle 
of Roncesvalles (778) (memorialised, although heavily fictionalised, in the Song of Roland). He also campaigned 
against the peoples to his east, especially the Saxons, and after a protracted war subjected them to his rule. By 
forcibly Christianizing the Saxons and banning on penalty of death their native Germanic paganism, he integrated 
them into his realm and thus paved the way for the later Ottonian dynasty. 

The French and German monarchies descending from the empire ruled by Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor 

cover most of Europe. In his acceptance speech of the Charlemagne Prize Pope John Paul II referred to him as the 

Pater Europae ("father of Europe"), his empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Romans, 

and the Carolingian renaissance encouraged the formation of a common European identity. 

Political background 

By the 6th century, the West Germanic Franks had been Christianised and Francia, ruled by the Merovingians, was 
the most powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the Western Roman Empire. But following the Battle of Tertry, 
the Merovingians declined into a state of powerlessness, for which they have been dubbed the do-nothing kings (wis 
faineants). Almost all government powers of any consequence were exercised by their chief officer, the mayor of the 
palace or major domus. 

In 687, Pippin of Herstal (or Heristal), mayor of the palace of Austrasia, ended the strife between various kings and 
their mayors with his victory at Tertry and became the sole governor of the entire Frankish kingdom. Pippin himself 
was the grandson of two of the most important figures of the Austrasian Kingdom, Saint Arnulf of Metz and Pippin 
of Landen. Pippin the Middle was eventually succeeded by his illegitimate son Charles, later known as Charles 
Martel (the Hammer). 

After 737, Charles governed the Franks without a king on the throne but declined to call himself "king". Charles was 
succeeded in 741 by his sons Carloman and Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne. To curb separatism in the 
periphery of the realm, in 743 the brothers placed on the throne Childeric III, who was to be the last Merovingian 

After Carloman resigned office in 746 to enter the church by preference as a monk, Pepin brought the question of the 
kingship before Pope Zachary, asking whether it was logical for a king to have no royal power. The pope handed 
down his decision in 749. He decreed (mandavit) that it was better for Pepin, who had the powers of high office as 



Mayor, to be called king, so as not to confuse the hierarchy (ordo). He therefore ordered him (iussit) to become "true 

In 750, Pepin was elected by an assembly of the Franks, anointed by the archbishop and then raised (elevatus) to the 
office of king. Branding Childeric III as "the false king," the Pope ordered him into a monastery. Thus was the 
Merovingian dynasty replaced by the Carolingian dynasty, named after Pepin's father, Charles Mattel. 

In 753 Pope Stephen II fled from Italy to Francia appealing for assistance pro iustitiis sancti Petri ("for the rights of 
St. Peter") to Pepin. He was supported in this appeal by Carloman, Charles' brother. In return the pope could only 
provide legitimacy, which he did by again anointing and confirming Pepin, this time adding his young sons, Carolus 
and Carloman, to the royal patrimony, now heirs to the great realm that already covered most of western and central 
Europe. In 754 Pepin accepted the Pope's invitation to visit Italy on behalf of St. Peter's rights, dealing successfully 
with the Lombards. 

Under the Carolingians, the Frankish kingdom spread to encompass an area including most of Western Europe. The 
division of that kingdom formed France and Germany; and the religious, political, and artistic evolutions 
originating from a centrally positioned Francia made a defining imprint on the whole of Europe. 

Personal background 
















1 ( 




16. Ansegisel 

8. Pepin of 

Charlemagne 230 

17. Begga 

4. Charles 

9. Alpaida 

2. Pepin the 

5. Rotrude of 


6. Caribert of 

13. Bertrada of 

L3. Bertrada of 

7. Bertrada of 

Charlemagne was the eldest child of Pepin the Short (714 — 24 September 768, reigned from 751) and his wife 
Bertrada of Laon (720 — 12 July 783), daughter of Caribert of Laon and Bertrada of Cologne. Records name only 
Carloman, Gisela, and three short-lived children named Pepin, Chrothais and Adelais as his younger siblings. 

Date of birth 

The most likely date of Charlemagne's birth is reconstructed from a number of sources. A date of 742 calculated 
from Einhard's date of death as January 814 at age 72 suffers from the defect of being two years before his parents' 
marriage in 744. The year given in the Annates Petaviani as 747 would be more likely, except that it contradicts 
Einhard and a few other sources in making Charlemagne less than a septuagenarian at his death. A month and day of 
April 2 is established by a calendar from Lorsch Abbey. 

In 747 that day fell on Easter, a coincidence that would have been remembered but was not. If Easter was being used 
as the beginning of the calendar year, then 2 April 747 could have been, by modern reckoning, 2 April 748 (not on 

Easter). The date favored by the preponderance of evidence is 2 April 742, based on the septuagenarian age at 

death. This date would appear to support an initial illegitimacy of birth, which is not, however, mentioned by 




Place of birth 

Charlemagne was most likely born in Herstal, 
Wallonia, where his father was born, a town close to 


Liege in modern day Belgium. The Merovingians 
had a number of hunting villas in the vicinity. Liege is 
close to the region from where both the Merovingian 
and Carolingian families originated. He went to live in 
his father's villa in Jupille when he was around seven, 
which caused Jupille to be listed as a possible place of 
birth in almost every history book. Other cities have 

been suggested, including Aachen, Diiren, Gauting, 

Miirlenbach, and Priim. No definitive evidence as to 

which is the right candidate exists. 


Dubbed Charles le Magne, "Charles the Great," by 

subsequent Old French historians 



Roman road connecting Tongeren to the Herstal region. Jupille and 
Herstal, near Liege, are located in the lower right corner. 

Charlemagne in English after the Norman conquest of 

England, he was named Karl (Carolus) after his grandfather, Charles Martel. Carolus Magnus was universal, leading 
to numerous translations in many languages of Europe: German Karl der Grosse, Dutch Karel de Grote, Danish Karl 
den Store, Italian Carlo Magno, Hungarian Nagy Karoly, Polish Karol Wielki, Czech Karel Veliky, Russian Karl 
Velikij, and so on. 

According to Julius Pokorny, the historical linguist and Indo-Europeanist, the root meaning of Karl is "old man", 
from Indo-European *ger-, where the g is a palatal consonant, meaning "to rub; to be old; grain." An old man has 
been worn away and is now grey with age. 

"Old man" descended into words with different senses. In all the reflex languages a husband is "the old man" or in 
feminine form "the old lady". He can be an "old fool" as in English churl or a "sad case" as in Persian zar, but in the 
Germanic languages he becomes something more exalted. Old Norse Karl, Old English Ceorl, Old High German 
karel is a free man, a citizen, not a slave or an alien. As far as the civilizations established in imitation of classical 
city-states are concerned, such as the Roman, which had its senatus, "the old men," Karl means respected senior, 
similar to the English vernacular for a commander, "the old man." The common Germanic was *karilaz, on which 


the Latin Carolus, English Charles, is based. 

Regardless of its previously understood meaning, Charles' achievements altered the meaning of the word. In many 
European languages, the very word for "king" derives from his name; e.g., Polish: krol, Czech: krdl, Slovak: krdl\ 
Hungarian: kirdly, Lithuanian: karalius, Latvian: karalis, Russian: Koponb, Macedonian: Kpan, Bulgarian: Kpaji, 
Serbian: KpaWkralj, Croatian: kralj, Turkish: kral. This development parallels that of the name of the Caesars in the 

original Roman Empire, which became Kaiser and Czar, among others 



By Charlemagne's time the French vernacular had already diverged significantly from Latin. This is evidenced by 
one of the regulations of the Council of Tours (813), which required that the parish priests preach either in the 
"rusticam Romanam linguam" (Romance) or "Theotiscam" (the Germanic vernacular) rather than in Latin. The goal 
of this rule was to make the sermons comprehensible to the common people, who must therefore have been either 

Romance speakers or Germanic speakers 
Old High German. [15] 


Charlemagne himself probably spoke a Rhenish Franconian dialect of 



Apart from his native language he also spoke Latin "as well as his native tongue" and understood a bit of Greek, 
according to his biographer Einhard (Grecam vero melius intellegere quam pronuntiare poterat, "he could 
understand Greek better than he could speak it"). Einhard also writes that Charlemagne started a "grammar of his 

native language" and "gave the months names in his own tongue 
German names. 

, [17] 

All of his daughters received Old High 

The largely fictional account of Charlemagne's Iberian campaigns by Pseudo-Turpin, written some three centuries 


after his death, gave rise to the legend that the king also spoke Arabic. 


Charlemagne's personal appearance is known from a good description 
by a personal associate, Einhard, author after his death of the 

biography Vita Karoli Magni. Einhard tells in his twenty-second 

u t [19] 

"He was heavily built, sturdy, and of considerable stature, 
although not exceptionally so, since his height was seven 
times the length of his own foot. He had a round head, 
large and lively eyes, a slightly larger nose than usual, 
white but still attractive hair, a bright and cheerful 
expression, a short and fat neck, and he enjoyed good 
health, except for the fevers that affected him in the last 
few years of his life. Toward the end, he dragged one leg. 
Even then, he stubbornly did what he wanted and refused 
to listen to doctors, indeed he detested them, because they 
wanted to persuade him to stop eating roast meat, as was 
his wont, and to be content with boiled meat." 

In the Cathedral of Moulins, France, end of the 
15th century 

The physical portrait provided by Einhard is confirmed by contemporary depictions of the emperor, such as coins 
and his 8-inch (unknown operator: u'strong' cm) bronze statue kept in the Louvre. In 1861, Charlemagne's tomb 
was opened by scientists who reconstructed his skeleton and estimated it to be measured 74.9 in (unknown 
operator: u'strong 1 cm). An estimate of his height from an X-ray and CT Scan of his tibia performed in 2010 is 
1.84 m (unknown operator: u'strong 1 in). This puts him in the 99th percentile of tall people of his period, given 
that average male height of his time was 1.69 m (unknown operator: u'strong' in). The width of the bone 
suggested he was gracile but not robust in body build 





Charlemagne wore the traditional costume of the Frankish people, 


described by Einhard thus: 

"He used to wear the national, that is to say, the Frank, 
dress-next his skin a linen shirt and linen breeches, and 
above these a tunic fringed with silk; while hose fastened 
by bands covered his lower limbs, and shoes his feet, and 
he protected his shoulders and chest in winter by a 
close-fitting coat of otter or marten skins." 

He wore a blue cloak and always carried a sword with him. The typical 

sword was of a golden or silver hilt. He wore fancy jewelled swords to 

banquets or ambassadorial receptions. Nevertheless: 

"He despised foreign costumes, however handsome, and 
never allowed himself to be robed in them, except twice in 
Rome, when he donned the Roman tunic, chlamys, and 
shoes; the first time at the request of Pope Hadrian, the 
second to gratify Leo, Hadrian's successor." 

He could rise to the occasion when necessary. On great feast days, he 

wore embroidery and jewels on his clothing and shoes. He had a golden buckle for his cloak on such occasions and 

would appear with his great diadem, but he despised such apparel, according to Einhard, and usually dressed like the 

In the Bibliotheque Nationale de France 

common people 


Rise to power 
Early life 

Einhard says of the early life of Charles: 

"It would be folly, I think, to write a word concerning Charles' birth and infancy, or even his boyhood, 
for nothing has ever been written on the subject, and there is no one alive now who can give information 
on it. Accordingly, I determined to pass that by as unknown, and to proceed at once to treat of his 
character, his deed, and such other facts of his life as are worth telling and setting forth, and shall first 
give an account of his deed at home and abroad, then of his character and pursuits, and lastly of his 
administration and death, omitting nothing worth knowing or necessary to know." 

The ambiguous high office 

The most powerful officers of the Frankish people, the Mayor of the Palace (Maior Domus) and one or more kings 
(rex, reges) were appointed by election of the people; that is, no regular elections were held, but they were held as 
required to elect officers ad quos summa imperii pertinebat, "to whom the highest matters of state pertained." 
Evidently interim decisions could be made by the Pope, which ultimately needed to be ratified by an assembly of the 
people, which met once a year. 

Before Pepin the Short, initially a Mayor, was elected king in 750, he held the high office "as though hereditary" 
(velut hereditario fungebatur). Einhard explains that "the honor" was usually "given by the people" to the 
distinguished, but Pepin the Great, and his brother Carloman the wise received it as though hereditary, as did their 
father, Charles Martel. There was, however, a certain ambiguity about quasi-inheritance. The office was treated as 
joint property: one Mayorship held by two brothers jointly. Each, however, had his own geographic jurisdiction. 
When Carloman decided to resign, becoming ultimately a Benedictine at Monte Cassino, the question of the 

Charlemagne 234 

disposition of his quasi-share was settled by the pope. He converted the Mayorship into a Kingship and awarded the 

joint property to Pepin, who now had the full right to pass it on by inheritance. 

This decision was not accepted by all members of the family. Carloman had consented to the temporary tenancy of 
his own share, which he intended to pass on to his own son, Drogo, when the inheritance should be settled at 
someone's death. By the Pope's decision, in which Pepin had a hand, Drogo was to be disqualified as an heir in favor 
of his cousin Charles. He took up arms in opposition to the decision and was joined by Grifo, a half-brother of Pepin 
and Carloman, who had been given a share by Charles Martel, but was stripped of it and held under loose arrest by 
his half-brothers after an attempt to seize their shares by military action. By 753 all was over. Grifo perished in 

ro on 

combat in the Battle of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne while Drogo was hunted down and taken into custody. 

On the death of Pepin, September 24, 768, the kingship passed jointly to his sons, "with divine assent" (divino 

nutu). According to the Life, Pepin died in Paris. The Franks "in general assembly" (generali conventu) gave them 

both the rank of king (reges) but "partitioned the whole body of the kingdom equally" (totum regni corpus ex aequo 

partirentur). The annals tell a slightly different version. The king died at St. Denis, which is, however, still in 

Paris. The two "lords" (domni) were "elevated to kingship" (elevati sunt in regnum), Carolus on October 9 in Noyon, 

Carloman on an unspecified date in Soissons. If born in 742, Carolus was 26 years old, but he had been campaigning 

at his father's right hand for several years, which may help to account for his military skill and genius. Carloman was 


The language in either case suggests that there were not two inheritances, which would have created distinct kings 
ruling over distinct kingdoms, but a single joint inheritance and a joint kingship tenanted by two equal kings, Charles 
and his brother Carloman. As before, distinct jurisdictions were awarded. Charles received Pepin's original share as 
Mayor: the outer parts of the kingdom, bordering on the sea, namely Neustria, western Aquitaine, and the northern 
parts of Austrasia, while Carloman was awarded his uncle's former share: the inner parts: southern Austrasia, 
Septimania, eastern Aquitaine, Burgundy, Provence, and Swabia, lands bordering on Italy. The question of whether 
these jurisdictions were joint shares reverting to the other brother if one brother died or were inherited property 
passed on to the descendants of the brother who died was never definitely settled by the Frankish people. It came up 
repeatedly over the succeeding decades until the grandsons of Charlemagne created distinct sovereign kingdoms. 

Further information: Mayor of the Palace 

Aquitanian rebellion 

An inheritance in the countries formerly under Roman law (ius or iustitia) represented not only a transmission of the 
properties and privileges but also the encumbrances and obligations attached to the inheritance. Pepin at his death 
had been in process of building an empire, a difficult task: 

"In those times, to build a kingdom from an aggregation of small states was itself no great difficulty .... 
But to keep the state intact after it had been formed was a colossal task .... Each of the minor states ... 
had its little sovereign ... who ... gave himself chiefly to ... plotting, pillaging and fighting." 

Formation of a new Aquitania 

Aquitania under Rome had been southern Gaul, which was Romanized and spoke a Romance language. Similarly 
Hispania had been populated by peoples speaking various languages, including Celtic, but was now populated 
entirely by Romance language speakers. Between Aquitania and Hispania were the Euskaldunak, Latinized to 
Vascones, or Basques, living in Basque country, Vasconia, which extended, according to the distributions of 

place names attributable to the Basques, most densely in the western Pyrenees but also as far south as the upper Ebro 

River in Spain and as far north as the Garonne River in France. The French name, Gascony, derives from 

Vasconia. The Romans were never able to entirely subject Vasconia. The parts which they did, in which they placed 

the region's first cities, were sources of legions in the Roman army valued for their fighting abilities. The border with 

Aquitania was Toulouse. 

Charlemagne 235 

The Romans after the fall of their empire were replaced by the Visigoths in Spain and the Franks and Visigoths to 
the north. Although they had the authority of state, these Germanic tribes were thinly settled at best. They did not 
keep their languages long but were assimilated to the Romance-speaking prior populations. Romance was still 
spoken in Toulouse and to the east as well as on the Ebro. These authorities maintained relationships with the 
Basques that were fully as combative as the previous had been; moreover, the Basques on the whole had the upper 
hand. They began to raid and pillage to the north and east of their borders into territory then ruled by the 
Merovingians. They took slaves from the north and sold them to the south. Army after army was sent by the Franks. 

If the Basques could not win they retreated into the mountains. In 635 a Frankish column under Arnebert was 

massacred in the Haute Soule, a mountain valley. 

At about 660 the Duchy of Vasconia united with the Duchy of Aquitania to form a single kingdom under Felix of 

Aquitaine, governing from Toulouse. This was a joint kingship with a 28-year-old Basque king, Lupus I. The 

kingdom was sovereign and independent. On the one hand Vasconia gave up predation to become a player on the 

field of European politics. On the other, whatever arrangements Felix had made with the weak Merovingians were 

null and void. At his death in 770 the joint property of the kingship reverted entirely to Lupus. As the Basques had 

no law of joint inheritance, but practiced primogeniture, Lupus in effect founded a hereditary dynasty of Basque 

kings of an expanded Aquitania. 

Acquisition of Aquitania by the Carolingians 

The Latin chronicles on the end of Visigothic Hispania leave much to be desired: identification of characters, filling 
in the gaps and reconciliation of the numerous contradictions. The Saracen sources, however, present a more 
coherent view, such as the Ta'rikh iftitah al-Andalus ("History of the Conquest of al-Andalus") by Ibn al-Qutiyya, 
"the son of the Gothic woman," meaning by the named woman Sarah, granddaughter of the last king of all Visigothic 
Spain, who married a Saracen. Ibn al-Qutiyya, who had another, much longer name, must have been relying to some 
degree on family oral tradition. 

According to Ibn al-Qutiyya the last Visigothic king of a united Hispania died before his three sons: Almund, 

Romulo and Ardabast, reached majority. Their mother was regent at Toledo, but Roderic, army chief of staff, staged 

a rebellion, capturing Cordova. Of all the possible outcomes he chose to impose a joint rule over distinct 

jurisdictions on the true heirs. Evidence of a division of some sort can be found in the distribution of coins imprinted 


with the name of each king and in the king lists. Wittiza is succeeded by Roderic, reigning 7.5 years, and a certain 
Achila (Aquila), reigning 3.5 years. If the reigns of both terminated with the incursion of the Saracens, then Roderic 
appears to have reigned a few years before the majority of Achila. The latter's kingdom is securely placed to the 
northeast, while Roderic seems to have taken the rest, notably Portugal. 

Achila is undoubtedly Achila II of the coins and chronicles, who is stated by some chronicles to have been the son of 

Wittiza. How he fits into the Gothic woman's family tree is a problem, A scribal error in the transmission of her son's 

manuscript has been postulated: w.q.l.h for Waqla becomes r.m.l.h for Rumulu (Arabic like Hebrew writes only the 

consonants). Ardabast is generally identified with Ardo king of Septimania, 713-720. The location of the share of 

Almun, or Olemundo, has not survived, but that he had one is assured by subsequent events. 

In the account, a Christian merchant, Julian, left his daughter in the guardianship of Roderic (her mother had just 
died) while he conducted some business on Roderic's request in North Africa. Returning to find his daughter had 
been seduced by Roderic he simulated nonchalance and acceptance of that event, convincing Roderic to send him 
back on more business. Arriving there, however, he went to Tariq ibn Ziyad and convinced him to invade 
al-Andalus. En route the prophet Mohammed appeared to Tariq in a dream at the head of an army, telling him to go 
on. When the Saracens had landed in southern Spain Roderic establishing a base at Cordova reached out to the three 
sons of Wittiza asking for assistance in the common defense. The three arrived but not even daring to enter Cordova 
they sent to Tariq stating that Roderic was no better than a dog and offering submission and support in return for 
keeping their ancestral lands and privileges. The offer having been accepted Roderic was defeated at the Battle of 

Charlemagne 236 

Guadalete. It is not clear whether the royal Goths fought against him or simply withheld troops. "Weighed down 
with weapons he threw himself into the water and was never found." 

The three royals travelled to Damascus to confirm their submissions: "Aquila was nominated king of the Goths 
but in 714 he traveled with his brothers to Damascus and sold the kingdom to Caliph Walid I (705-15) for lands and 
money." Ardo went on as client-king in Provence. On the death of Almund he appropriated the latter's share of the 
joint property against the will of the children, who went to Syria to appeal the case. The Saracens moved against 
Ardo. The boys never recovered the land. One became a Christian bishop. The daughter, Sarah, accepted an arranged 
marriage with a Saracen, becoming known as "the Gothic woman." She played an important role subsequently in 
Moorish Spain. 

The Saracens crossed the mountains to claim Ardo's Septimania, only to encounter the Basque dynasty of Aquitania, 

always the allies of the Goths. Odo the Great of Aquitania was at first victorious at the Battle of Bordeaux in 721. 

Saracen troops gradually massed in Septimania and in 732 advanced into Vasconia, and Odo was defeated at the 

Battle of the River Garonne. They took Bordeaux and were advancing toward Tours when Odo, powerless to stop 

them, appealed to his arch-enemy, Charles Martel, mayor of the Franks. In one of the first of those lightning marches 

for which the Carolingian kings became famous, Charles and his army appeared in the path of the Saracens between 

Tours and Poitiers, and in the Battle of Tours settled the question of the Saracen advance into Europe. The Moors 

were defeated so conclusively that they retreated across the mountains, never to return, leaving Septimania to 

become part of Francia. Odo also had to pay the price of incorporation into Charles's kingdom, a decision that was 

repugnant to him and also to his heirs. 

Further information: Umayyad conquest of Hispania 

Loss and recovery of Aquitania 

After his death his son Hunald allied himself with free Lombardy, a violation of the sovereignty of Francia. 
However, Odo had left the kingdom ambiguously to his two sons jointly, Hunald and Hatto. The latter, loyal to 

Francia, now went to war with his brother over full possession. Victorius, Hunald blinded and imprisoned his 

brother, only to be so stricken by conscience that he resigned and entered the church as a monk to do penance. 

His son Waifer took an early inheritance, becoming duke of Aquitania. Inheriting also the alliance with Lombardy. 

Waifer decided to honor it, repeating his father's treason, which he justified by arguing that any agreements with 

Charles Martel became invalid on Martel's death. Since Aquitania was now Pepin's inheritance, the latter and his son, 


the young Charles, hunted down Waifer, who could only conduct a guerrilla war, and executed him. 

Among the contingents of the Frankish army were Bavarians under Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria, an Agilofing, the 
hereditary Bavarian royal family. Grifo had installed himself as Duke of Bavaria but Pepin replaced him with a 
member of the royal family yet a child, Tassilo, whose protector he had become after the death of his father. The 
loyalty of the Agilolfings was perpetually in question but Pepin exacted numerous oaths of loyalty from Tassilo. 

However, the latter had married Liutperga, a daughter of Desiderius, king of Lombardy. At a critical point in the 

campaign Tassilo with all his Bavarians left the field. Out of reach of Pepin, he repudiated all loyalty to Francia. 

Pepin had no chance to respond as he grew ill and within a few weeks after the execution of Waifer died himself. 

The first event of the brothers' reign was the uprising of the Aquitainians and Gascons, in 769, in that territory split 
between the two kings. Years before, Pepin had suppressed the revolt of Waifer, Duke of Aquitaine. Now, one 
Hunald (seemingly other than Hunald the duke) led the Aquitainians as far north as Angouleme. Charles met 
Carloman, but Carloman refused to participate and returned to Burgundy. Charles went to war, leading an army to 
Bordeaux, where he set up a fort at Fronsac. Hunald was forced to flee to the court of Duke Lupus II of Gascony. 
Lupus, fearing Charles, turned Hunald over in exchange for peace. He was put in a monastery. Aquitaine was finally 
fully subdued by the Franks. 



Union perforce 

The brothers maintained lukewarm relations with the assistance of their mother Bertrada, but in 770 Charles signed a 
treaty with Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria and married a Lombard Princess (commonly known today as Desiderata), the 
daughter of King Desiderius, to surround Carloman with his own allies. Though Pope Stephen III first opposed the 
marriage with the Lombard princess, he would soon have little to fear from a Frankish-Lombard alliance. 

Less than a year after his marriage, Charlemagne repudiated Desiderata, and quickly remarried to a 13-year-old 
Swabian named Hildegard. The repudiated Desiderata returned to her father's court at Pavia. The Lombard's wrath 
was now aroused and he would gladly have allied with Carloman to defeat Charles. But before any open hostilities 
could be declared, Carloman died on 5 December 771, seemingly of natural causes. Carloman's widow Gerberga fled 
to Desiderius' court in Lombardy with her sons for protection. 

Italian campaigns 

Conquest of Lombardy 

The Frankish king Charlemagne was a devout 

Catholic and maintained a close relationship with 

the papacy throughout his life. In 772, when Pope 

Adrian I was threatened by invaders, the king 

rushed to Rome to provide assistance. Shown 

here, the pope asks Charlemagne for help at a 

meeting near Rome. 

At the succession of Pope Adrian I in 772, he demanded the return of 
certain cities in the former exarchate of Ravenna as in accordance with 
a promise of Desiderius' succession. Desiderius instead took over 
certain papal cities and invaded the Pentapolis, heading for Rome. 
Adrian sent embassies to Charlemagne in autumn requesting he 
enforce the policies of his father, Pepin. Desiderius sent his own 
embassies denying the pope's charges. The embassies both met at 
Thionville and Charlemagne upheld the pope's side. Charlemagne 
promptly demanded what the pope had demanded and Desiderius 
promptly swore never to comply. Charlemagne and his uncle Bernard 
crossed the Alps in 773 and chased the Lombards back to Pavia, which 
they then besieged. Charlemagne temporarily left the siege to deal with 
Adelchis, son of Desiderius, who was raising an army at Verona. The 
young prince was chased to the Adriatic littoral and he fled to 
Constantinople to plead for assistance from Constantine V, who was 
waging war with Bulgaria. 

The siege lasted until the spring of 774, when Charlemagne visited the pope in Rome. There he confirmed his 
father's grants of land, with some later chronicles claiming — falsely — that he also expanded them, granting Tuscany, 
Emilia, Venice, and Corsica. The pope granted him the title patrician. He then returned to Pavia, where the 
Lombards were on the verge of surrendering. 

In return for their lives, the Lombards surrendered and opened the gates in early summer. Desiderius was sent to the 
abbey of Corbie and his son Adelchis died in Constantinople a patrician. Charles, unusually, had himself crowned 
with the Iron Crown and made the magnates of Lombardy do homage to him at Pavia. Only Duke Arechis II of 
Benevento refused to submit and proclaimed independence. Charlemagne was then master of Italy as king of the 
Lombards. He left Italy with a garrison in Pavia and a few Frankish counts in place that very year. 

There was still instability, however, in Italy. In 776, Dukes Hrodgaud of Friuli and Hildeprand of Spoleto rebelled. 
Charlemagne rushed back from Saxony and defeated the duke of Friuli in battle. The duke was slain. The duke of 
Spoleto signed a treaty. Their co-conspirator, Arechis, was not subdued, and Adelchis, their candidate in Byzantium, 
never left that city. Northern Italy was now faithfully his. 



Southern Italy 

In 787 Charlemagne directed his attention toward Benevento, where Arechis was reigning independently. 
Charlemagne besieged Salerno, and Arechis submitted to vassalage. However, with his death in 792, Benevento 
again proclaimed independence under his son Grimoald III. Grimoald was attacked by armies of Charles or his sons 
many times, but Charlemagne himself never returned to the Mezzogiorno, and Grimoald never was forced to 
surrender to Frankish suzerainty. 

Charles and his children 


(left) and Pippin the Hunchback, 
copy of a lost original from about 

During the first peace of any substantial length (780—782), Charles 
began to appoint his sons to positions of authority within the realm, in 
the tradition of the kings and mayors of the past. In 781, he made his 
two younger sons kings, having them crowned by the Pope. The elder of 
these two, Carloman, was made king of Italy, taking the Iron Crown 
which his father had first worn in 774, and in the same ceremony was 
renamed "Pippin." The younger of the two, Louis, became king of 
Aquitaine. Charlemagne ordered Pippin and Louis to be raised in the 
customs of their kingdoms, and he gave their regents some control of 
their subkingdoms, but real power was always in his hands, though he 
intended his sons to inherit their realms some day. Nor did he tolerate 
insubordination in his sons: in 792, he banished his eldest, though 
possibly illegitimate, son, Pippin the Hunchback, to the monastery of 
Priim, because the young man had joined a rebellion against him. 

Charles was determined to have his children educated, including his 
daughters, as he himself was not. His children were taught all the arts, 
and his daughters were learned in the way of being a woman. His sons 
took archery, horsemanship, and other outdoor activities. 

The sons fought many wars on behalf of their father when they came of 
age. Charles was mostly preoccupied with the Bretons, whose border 
he shared and who insurrected on at least two occasions and were 
easily put down, but he was also sent against the Saxons on multiple 
occasions. In 805 and 806, he was sent into the Bohmerwald (modern 
Bohemia) to deal with the Slavs living there (Bohemian tribes, 
ancestors of the modern Czechs). He subjected them to Frankish 
authority and devastated the valley of the Elbe, forcing a tribute on 
them. Pippin had to hold the Avar and Beneventan borders but also 
fought the Slavs to his north. He was uniquely poised to fight the 
Byzantine Empire when finally that conflict arose after Charlemagne's 
imperial coronation and a Venetian rebellion. Finally, Louis was in 
charge of the Spanish March and also went to southern Italy to fight 
the duke of Benevento on at least one occasion. He took Barcelona in a great siege in the year 797 (see below). 

Charlemagne's attitude toward his daughters has been the subject of much discussion. He kept them at home with 
him and refused to allow them to contract sacramental marriages — possibly to prevent the creation of cadet branches 

Charlemagne 239 

of the family to challenge the main line, as had been the case with Tassilo of Bavaria — yet he tolerated their 
extramarital relationships, even rewarding their common-law husbands, and treasured the illegitimate grandchildren 
they produced for him. He also, apparently, refused to believe stories of their wild behavior. After his death the 
surviving daughters were banished from the court by their brother, the pious Louis, to take up residence in the 
convents they had been bequeathed by their father. At least one of them, Bertha, had a recognised relationship, if not 
a marriage, with Angilbert, a member of Charlemagne's court circle. 

Carolingian expansion to the south 
Vasconia and the Pyrenees 

The destructive war led by Pepin in Aquitaine, although brought to a satisfactory conclusion for the Franks, proved 
the Frankish power structure south of the Loire was feeble and unreliable. After the defeat and death of Waifer of 
Aquitaine in 768, while Aquitaine submitted again to the Carolingian dynasty, a new rebellion broke out in 769 led 
by Hunald II, maybe son of Waifer. He took refuge with the ally duke Lupus II of Gascony, but probably out of fear 
of Charlemagne's reprisal, handed him over to the new King of the Franks besides pledging loyalty to him, which 
seemed to confirm the peace in the Basque area south of the Garonne. 

However, wary of new Basque uprisings, Charlemagne seems to have tried to diminish duke Lupus's power by 
appointing a certain Seguin as count of Bordeaux (778) and other counts of Frankish background in bordering areas 
(Toulouse, County of Fezensac), a decision that seriously undermined the authority of the duke of Gascony 
(Vasconia). The Basque duke in turn seems to have contributed decisively or schemed the Battle of Roncevaux Pass 
(referred to as "Basque treachery"). The defeat of Charlemagne's army in Roncevaux (778) confirmed him in his 
determination to rule directly by establishing the Kingdom of Aquitaine (son Louis the Pious proclaimed first king) 
based on a power base of Frankish officials, distributing lands among colonisers and allocating lands to the Church, 
which he took as ally. 

From 781 (Pallars, Ribagorca) to 806 (Pamplona under Frankish influence), taking the County of Toulouse for a 
power base, Charlemagne managed to assert Frankish authority on the Pyrenees by establishing vassal counties that 
were to make up the Marca Hispanica and provide the necessary springboard to attack the Hispanic Muslims 
(expedition led by William Count of Toulouse and Louis the Pious to capture Barcelona in 801), in a way that 
Charlemagne had succeeded in expanding the Carolingian rule all around the Pyrenees by 812, although events in 
the Duchy of Vasconia (rebellion in Pamplona, count overthrown in Aragon, duke Seguin of Bordeaux deposed, 
uprising of the Basque lords, etc.) were to prove it ephemeral on his death. 

Roncesvalles campaign 

According to the Muslim historian Ibn al-Athir, the Diet of Paderborn had received the representatives of the Muslim 
rulers of Saragossa, Girona, Barcelona, and Huesca. Their masters had been cornered in the Iberian peninsula by 
Abd ar-Rahman I, the Umayyad emir of Cordova. These Moorish or "Saracen" rulers offered their homage to the 
great king of the Franks in return for military support. Seeing an opportunity to extend Christendom and his own 
power and believing the Saxons to be a fully conquered nation, Charlemagne agreed to go to Spain. 

In 778, he led the Neustrian army across the Western Pyrenees, while the Austrasians, Lombards, and Burgundians 
passed over the Eastern Pyrenees. The armies met at Saragossa and Charlemagne received the homage of the Muslim 
rulers, Sulayman al-Arabi and Kasmin ibn Yusuf, but the city did not fall for him. Indeed, Charlemagne was facing 
the toughest battle of his career where the Muslims had the upper hand and forced him to retreat. He decided to go 
home, since he could not trust the Basques, whom he had subdued by conquering Pamplona. He turned to leave 
Iberia, but as he was passing through the Pass of Roncesvalles one of the most famous events of his long reign 
occurred. The Basques fell on his rearguard and baggage train, utterly destroying it. The Battle of Roncevaux Pass, 
less a battle than a mere skirmish, left many famous dead: among which were the seneschal Eggihard, the count of 



the palace Anselm, and the warden of the Breton March, Roland, inspiring the subsequent creation of the Song of 
Roland {La Chanson de Roland). 

Wars with the Moors 

Harun al-Rashid receiving a delegation of 
Charlemagne in Baghdad, by Julius Kockert 

The conquest of Italy brought Charlemagne in contact with the 
Saracens who, at the time, controlled the Mediterranean. Pippin, his 
son, was much occupied with Saracens in Italy. Charlemagne 
conquered Corsica and Sardinia at an unknown date and in 799 the 
Balearic Islands. The islands were often attacked by Saracen pirates, 
but the counts of Genoa and Tuscany (Boniface) kept them at bay with 
large fleets until the end of Charlemagne's reign. Charlemagne even 
had contact with the caliphal court in Baghdad. In 797 (or possibly 
801), the caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid, presented Charlemagne 
with an Asian elephant named Abul- Abbas and a clock. 

In Hispania, the struggle against the Moors continued unabated throughout the latter half of his reign. His son Louis 
was in charge of the Spanish border. In 785, his men captured Gerona permanently and extended Frankish control 
into the Catalan littoral for the duration of Charlemagne's reign (and much longer, it remained nominally Frankish 
until the Treaty of Corbeil in 1258). The Muslim chiefs in the northeast of Islamic Spain were constantly revolting 
against Cordovan authority, and they often turned to the Franks for help. The Frankish border was slowly extended 
until 795, when Gerona, Cardona, Ausona, and Urgel were united into the new Spanish March, within the old duchy 
of Septimania. 

In 797 Barcelona, the greatest city of the region, fell to the Franks when Zeid, its governor, rebelled against Cordova 
and, failing, handed it to them. The Umayyad authority recaptured it in 799. However, Louis of Aquitaine marched 
the entire army of his kingdom over the Pyrenees and besieged it for two years, wintering there from 800 to 801, 
when it capitulated. The Franks continued to press forward against the emir. They took Tarragona in 809 and Tortosa 
in 811. The last conquest brought them to the mouth of the Ebro and gave them raiding access to Valencia, 
prompting the Emir al-Hakam I to recognize their conquests in 812. 

Eastern campaigns 
Saxon Wars 



^| Frankish Territory in 481 

^ Conquests of Clovis 481-511 

B Ct-S'-eSsSj: €14 

| Cc-Suess ':: '68 

m Cc.-i-sss ■:■ :;-arlemaane 768-814 

n ■»«-»- ~ 

Aran f'coj: cs " i .-*,;-/ to Charlemagne 

"H Kingdom of Siagrius in 48S 

^^J visirrinir 1; nii.-li.m rf Triiilnure in 507 


Map showing Charlemagne's additions (in light green) to the Frankish Kingdom 

peninsula, was Nordalbingia. 

Charlemagne was engaged in almost 

constant battle throughout his reign, 

often at the head of his elite scara 

bodyguard squadrons, with his legendary 

sword Joyeuse in hand. After thirty years of 

war and eighteen battles — the Saxon 

Wars — he conquered Saxonia and 

proceeded to convert the conquered to 


The Germanic Saxons were divided into 
four subgroups in four regions. Nearest to 
Austrasia was Westphalia and furthest away 
was Eastphalia. In between these two 
kingdoms was that of Engria and north of 
these three, at the base of the Jutland 

In his first campaign, Charlemagne forced the Engrians in 773 to submit and cut down an Irminsul pillar near 
Paderborn. The campaign was cut short by his first expedition to Italy. He returned in 775, marching through 
Westphalia and conquered the Saxon fort of Sigiburg. He then crossed Engria, where he defeated the Saxons again. 
Finally, in Eastphalia, he defeated a Saxon force, and its leader Hessi converted to Christianity. He returned through 
Westphalia, leaving encampments at Sigiburg and Eresburg, which had, up until then, been important Saxon 
bastions. All of Saxony but Nordalbingia was under his control, but Saxon resistance had not ended. 

Following his campaign in Italy subjugating the dukes of Friuli and Spoleto, Charlemagne returned very rapidly to 
Saxony in 776, where a rebellion had destroyed his fortress at Eresburg. The Saxons were once again brought to 
heel, but their main leader, Widukind, managed to escape to Denmark, home of his wife. Charlemagne built a new 
camp at Karlstadt. In 777, he called a national diet at Paderborn to integrate Saxony fully into the Frankish kingdom. 
Many Saxons were baptised as Christians. 

In the summer of 779, he again invaded Saxony and reconquered Eastphalia, Engria, and Westphalia. At a diet near 
Lippe, he divided the land into missionary districts and himself assisted in several mass baptisms (780). He then 
returned to Italy and, for the first time, there was no immediate Saxon revolt. Saxony was peaceful from 780 to 782. 

He returned to Saxony in 782 and instituted a code of law and 
appointed counts, both Saxon and Frank. The laws were draconian on 
religious issues; for example, the Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae 
prescribed death to Saxon pagans who refused to convert to 
Christianity. This revived a renewal of the old conflict. That year, in 
autumn, Widukind returned and led a new revolt. In response, at 
Verden in Lower Saxony, Charlemagne is recorded as having ordered 
the execution of 4,500 Saxon prisoners, known as the Massacre of 
Verden ("Verdener Blutgericht"). The killings triggered three years of 
renewed bloody warfare (783—785). During this war the Frisians were 
also finally subdued and a large part of their fleet was burned. The war 
ended with Widukind accepting baptism. 

Charlemagne (742—814) receiving the submission 

of Widukind at Paderborn in 785, by Ary 

Scheffer (1795-1858). Versailles 

Thereafter, the Saxons maintained the peace for seven years, but in 792 the Westphalians again rose against their 
conquerors. The Eastphalians and Nordalbingians joined them in 793, but the insurrection did not catch on and was 
put down by 794. An Engrian rebellion followed in 796, but the presence of Charlemagne, Christian Saxons and 

Charlemagne 242 

Slavs quickly crushed it. The last insurrection of the independent-minded people occurred in 804, more than thirty 
years after Charlemagne's first campaign against them. This time, the most restive of them, the Nordalbingians, 
found themselves effectively disempowered from rebellion for the time being. According to Einhard: 

The war that had lasted so many years was at length ended by their acceding to the terms offered by the 
King; which were renunciation of their national religious customs and the worship of devils, acceptance 
of the sacraments of the Christian faith and religion, and union with the Franks to form one people. 

Submission of Bavaria 

In 788, Charlemagne turned his attention to Bavaria. He claimed Tassilo was an unfit ruler, due to his oath-breaking. 
The charges were exaggerated, but Tassilo was deposed anyway and put in the monastery of Jumieges. In 794, he 
was made to renounce any claim to Bavaria for himself and his family (the Agilolfings) at the synod of Frankfurt. 
Bavaria was subdivided into Frankish counties, as had been done with Saxony. 

Avars campaigns 

In 788, the Avars, a pagan Asian horde which had settled down in what is today Hungary (Einhard called them 
Huns), invaded Friuli and Bavaria. Charlemagne was preoccupied until 790 with other things, but in that year, he 
marched down the Danube into their territory and ravaged it to the Gyor. Then, a Lombard army under Pippin 
marched into the Drava valley and ravaged Pannonia. The campaigns would have continued if the Saxons had not 
revolted again in 792, breaking seven years of peace. 

For the next two years, Charlemagne was occupied with the Slavs against the Saxons. Pippin and Duke Eric of Friuli 
continued, however, to assault the Avars' ring-shaped strongholds. The great Ring of the Avars, their capital fortress, 
was taken twice. The booty was sent to Charlemagne at his capital, Aachen, and redistributed to all his followers and 
even to foreign rulers, including King Offa of Mercia. Soon the Avar tuduns had thrown in the towel and travelled to 
Aachen to subject themselves to Charlemagne as vassals and Christians. Charlemagne accepted their surrender and 
sent one native chief, baptised Abraham, back to Avaria with the ancient title of khagan. Abraham kept his people in 
line, but in 800, the Bulgarians under Khan Krum swept the Avar state away. In the 10th century, the Magyars 
settled the Pannonian plain and presented a new threat to Charlemagne's descendants. 

Northeast Slav expeditions 

In 789, in recognition of his new pagan neighbours, the Slavs, Charlemagne marched an Austrasian-Saxon army 
across the Elbe into Obotrite territory. The Slavs immediately submitted under their leader Witzin. Charlemagne then 
accepted the surrender of the Wiltzes under Dragovit and demanded many hostages and the permission to send, 
unmolested, missionaries into the pagan region. The army marched to the Baltic before turning around and marching 
to the Rhine with much booty and no harassment. The tributary Slavs became loyal allies. In 795, when the Saxons 
broke the peace, the Abotrites and Wiltzes rose in arms with their new master against the Saxons. Witzin died in 
battle and Charlemagne avenged him by harrying the Eastphalians on the Elbe. Thrasuco, his successor, led his men 
to conquest over the Nordalbingians and handed their leaders over to Charlemagne, who greatly honoured him. The 
Abotrites remained loyal until Charles' death and fought later against the Danes. 



Southeast Slav expeditions 

When Charlemagne incorporated much of 
Central Europe, he brought the Frankish 
state face to face with the Avars and Slavs 
in the southeast. The most southeast 
Frankish neighbors were Croats, who settled 
in Pannonian Croatia and Littoral Croatian 
Duchy. While fighting the Avars, the Franks 
had called for their support. During the 
790s, when Charlemagne campaigned 
against the Avars, he won a major victory in 
796. Pannonian Croatian duke Vojnomir 
of Pannonian Croatia aided Charlemagne, 
and the Franks made themselves overlords 
over the Croatians of northern Dalmatia, 

Slavonia, and Pannonia 


The Frankish commander Eric of Friuli 

wanted to extend his dominion by conquering Littoral Croatian Duchy. During that time, Littoral Croatia was ruled 

by duke Viseslav of Croatia, who was one of the first known Croatian dukes. In the Battle of Trsat, the forces of 

Eric fled their positions and were totally routed by the forces of Viseslav. Eric himself was among the killed, and 

his death and defeat proved a great blow for the Carolingian Empire 


Charlemagne also directed his attention to the Slavs to the west of the Avar khaganate: the Carantanians and 
Carniolans. These people were subdued by the Lombards and Bavarii, were made tributaries, but were never fully 
incorporated into the Frankish state. 



In 799, Pope Leo III had been mistreated by the Romans, who tried to 
put out his eyes and tear out his tongue. Leo escaped and fled to 
Charlemagne at Paderborn, asking him to intervene in Rome and 
restore him. Charlemagne, advised by Alcuin of York, agreed to travel 
to Rome, doing so in November 800 and holding a council on 
1 December. On 23 December Leo swore an oath of innocence. At 
Mass, on Christmas Day (25 December), when Charlemagne knelt at 
the altar to pray, the Pope crowned him Imperator Romanorum 
("Emperor of the Romans") in Saint Peter's Basilica. In so doing, the 
Pope was effectively nullifying the legitimacy of Empress Irene of 

"When Odoacer compelled the abdication of Romulus 
Augustulus, he did not abolish the Western Empire as a separate 
power, but cause it to be reunited with or sink into the Eastern, 
so that from that time there was a single undivided Roman 

Charlemagne 244 

Empire... [Pope Leo III and Charlemagne], like their predecessors, held the Roman Empire to be one and 
indivisible, and proposed by the coronation of [Charlemagne] not to proclaim a severance of the East and 
West... they were not revolting against a reigning sovereign, but legitimately filling up the place of the 
deposed Constantine VI... [Charlemagne] was held to be the legitimate successor, not of Romulus Augustulus, 
but of Constantine VI..." [54] 

Charlemagne's coronation as Emperor, though intended to represent the continuation of the unbroken line of 
Emperors from Augustus to Constantine VI, had the effect of setting up two separate (and often opposing) Empires 
and two separate claims to imperial authority. For centuries to come, the Emperors in the West would claim 
sovereignty over both West and East with the Emperors in the East claiming the same. 

Einhard says that Charlemagne was ignorant of the Pope's intent and did not want any such coronation: 

[H]e at first had such an aversion that he declared that he would not have set foot in the Church the day 
that they [the imperial titles] were conferred, although it was a great feast-day, if he could have foreseen 
the design of the Pope. 

Many modern scholars, however, suggest that Charlemagne was indeed aware of the coronation; certainly he 
cannot have missed the bejeweled crown waiting on the altar when he came to pray. 

In any event, Charlemagne used these circumstances to claim that he was the renewer of the Roman Empire, which 
had apparently fallen into degradation under the Byzantines. In his official charters, Charles preferred the style 
Karolus serenissimus Augustus a Deo coronatus magnus pacificus imperator Romanum gubernans imperium 
("Charles, most serene Augustus crowned by God, the great, peaceful emperor ruling the Roman empire") to a more 
direct Imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans"). 

Imperial Diplomacy 

The iconoclasm of the Byzantine Isaurian Dynasty was endorsed by the Franks. When the Second Council of 

Nicaea reintroduced the veneration of icons under Empress Irene, the council was not recognized by Charlemagne 

since no Frankish emissaries had been invited although Charlemagne was ruling more than three provinces of the old 

Roman empire and was considered equal in rank to the Byzantine emperor. And although the Pope supported the 

reintroduction of the iconic veneration he thus politically digressed from Byzantium. He also most certainly 

desired to increase the influence of the papacy, honour his saviour Charlemagne, and solve the constitutional issues 

then most troubling to European jurists in an era when Rome was not in the hands of an emperor. Thus, 

Charlemagne's assumption of the imperial title was not a usurpation in the eyes of the Franks or Italians. It was, 

however, seen as such in Byzantium, where it was protested by Irene and her successor Nicephorus I — neither of 

whom had any great effect in enforcing their protests. 

The Byzantines, however, still held several territories in Italy: Venice (what was left of the Exarchate of Ravenna), 
Reggio (in Calabria), Brindisi (in Apulia), and Naples (the Ducatus Neapolitanus). These regions remained outside 
of Frankish hands until 804, when the Venetians, torn by infighting, transferred their allegiance to the Iron Crown of 
Pippin, Charles' son. The Pax Nicephori ended. Nicephorus ravaged the coasts with a fleet, and the only instance of 
war between the Byzantines and the Franks, as it was, began. It lasted until 810, when the pro-Byzantine party in 
Venice gave their city back to the Byzantine Emperor, and the two emperors of Europe made peace: Charlemagne 


received the Istrian peninsula and in 812 the emperor Michael I Rhangabes recognised his status as Emperor, 

although not necessarily as "Emperor of the Romans". 



Danish attacks 

After the conquest of Nordalbingia, the Frankish frontier was brought into contact with Scandinavia. The pagan 
Danes, "a race almost unknown to his ancestors, but destined to be only too well known to his sons" as Charles 
Oman described them, inhabiting the Jutland peninsula, had heard many stories from Widukind and his allies who 
had taken refuge with them about the dangers of the Franks and the fury which their Christian king could direct 
against pagan neighbours. 

In 808, the king of the Danes, Godfred, built the vast Danevirke across the isthmus of Schleswig. This defence, last 
employed in the Danish-Prussian War of 1864, was at its beginning a 30 km (unknown operator: u'strong 1 mi) 
long earthenwork rampart. The Danevirke protected Danish land and gave Godfred the opportunity to harass Frisia 
and Flanders with pirate raids. He also subdued the Frank-allied Wiltzes and fought the Abotrites. 

Godfred invaded Frisia, joked of visiting Aachen, but was murdered before he could do any more, either by a 
Frankish assassin or by one of his own men. Godfred was succeeded by his nephew Hemming, who concluded the 
Treaty of Heiligen with Charlemagne in late 811. 


Persephone sarcophagus of Charlemagne 

Portion of the 814 death shroud of Charlemagne. 

It represents a quadriga and was manufactured in 


In 813, Charlemagne called Louis the Pious, king of Aquitaine, his 
only surviving legitimate son, to his court. There Charlemagne 
crowned his son with his own hands as co-emperor and sent him back 
to Aquitaine. He then spent the autumn hunting before returning to 
Aachen on 1 November. In January, he fell ill with pleurisy. In deep 
depression (mostly because many of his plans were not yet realized), 
he took to his bed on 21 January and as Einhard tells it: 

He died January twenty-eighth, the seventh day from the 
time that he took to his bed, at nine o'clock in the morning, 
after partaking of the Holy Communion, in the 
seventy-second year of his age and the forty-seventh of his 



He was buried the same day as his death, in Aachen Cathedral, 

although the cold weather and the nature of his illness made such a 

hurried burial unnecessary. The earliest surviving planctus, the 

Planctus de obitu Karoli, was composed by a monk of Bobbio, which 

he had patronised. A later story, told by Otho of Lomello, Count of 

the Palace at Aachen in the time of Otto III, would claim that he and 

Emperor Otto had discovered Charlemagne's tomb: the emperor, they 

claimed, was seated upon a throne, wearing a crown and holding a 

sceptre, his flesh almost entirely incorrupt. In 1165, Frederick I 

re-opened the tomb again and placed the emperor in a sarcophagus beneath the floor of the cathedral 

Frederick II re-interred him in a casket made of gold and silver. 

Frederick II's gold and silver casket for 


In 1215 

Charlemagne's death greatly affected many of his subjects, particularly those of the literary clique who had 
surrounded him at Aachen. An anonymous monk of Bobbio lamented: 

From the lands where the sun rises to western shores, People are crying and wailing. ..the Franks, the 
Romans, all Christians, are stung with mourning and great worry. ..the young and old, glorious nobles, 
all lament the loss of their Caesar.. .the world laments the death of Charles. ..O Christ, you who govern 
the heavenly host, grant a peaceful place to Charles in your kingdom. Alas for miserable me. 

He was succeeded by his surviving son, Louis, who had been crowned the previous year. His empire lasted only 
another generation in its entirety; its division, according to custom, between Louis's own sons after their father's 

death laid the foundation for the modem state of Germany 



As an administrator, Charlemagne stands out for his many reforms: monetary, governmental, military, cultural, and 
ecclesiastical. He is the main protagonist of the "Carolingian Renaissance." 


It has long been held that the dominance of Charlemagne's military was based on a "cavalry revolution" led by 
Charles Mattel in 730s. However, the stirrup, which made the "shock cavalry" lance charge possible, was not 
introduced to the Frankish kingdom until the late eighth century. Instead, Charlemagne's success rested primarily 
on novel siege technologies and excellent logistics 


However, large numbers of horses were used by the Frankish military during the age of Charlemagne. This was 
because horses provided a quick, long-distance method of transporting troops, which was critical to building and 
maintaining such a large empire. 



Economic and monetary reforms 

Charlemagne had an important role in 
determining the immediate economic 
future of Europe. Pursuing his father's 
reforms, Charlemagne abolished the 
monetary system based on the gold 
sou, and he and the Anglo-Saxon King 
Offa of Mercia took up the system set 
in place by Pippin. There were strong 
pragmatic reasons for this 
abandonment of a gold standard, 
notably a shortage of gold itself. 


iwflL^ry— sin 

Htairmni yrar 

Monogram of Charlemagne, from the subscription of a royal diploma: "Signum (monogr.: 
KAROLVS) Karoli gloriosissimi regis" 

The gold shortage was a direct consequence of the conclusion of peace with Byzantium, which resulted in the ceding 
of Venice and Sicily and the loss of their trade routes to Africa and to the East. This standardisation also had the 
effect of economically harmonising and unifying the complex array of currencies which had been in use at the 
commencement of his reign, thus simplifying trade and commerce. 

He established a new standard, the livre carolinienne (from the 
Latin libra, the modern pound), which was based upon a pound of 
silver — a unit of both money and weight — which was worth 20 
sous (from the Latin solidus [which was primarily an accounting 
device and never actually minted], the modern shilling) or 240 
deniers (from the Latin denarius, the modern penny). During this 
period, the livre and the sou were counting units; only the denier 
was a coin of the realm. 

Charlemagne instituted principles for accounting practice by 
means of the Capitulare de villis of 802, which laid down strict 
rules for the way in which incomes and expenses were to be 

The lending of money for interest was prohibited and then 
strengthened in 8 14, when Charlemagne introduced the Capitulary 
for the Jews, a draconian prohibition on Jews engaging in money-lending. 

In addition to this macro-oriented reform of the economy of his empire, Charlemagne also performed a significant 
number of microeconomic reforms, such as direct control of prices and levies on certain goods and commodities. 

Charlemagne applied the system to much of the European continent, and Offa's standard was voluntarily adopted by 
much of England. After Charlemagne's death, continental coinage degraded, and most of Europe resorted to using 
the continued high-quality English coin until about 1 100. 

Education reforms 

A part of Charlemagne's success as warrior and administrator can be traced to his admiration for learning. His reign 
and the era it ushered in are often referred to as the Carolingian Renaissance because of the flowering of scholarship, 
literature, art, and architecture which characterize it. Charlemagne, brought into contact with the culture and learning 
of other countries (especially Visigothic Spain, Anglo-Saxon England, and Lombard Italy) due to his vast conquests, 
greatly increased the provision of monastic schools and scriptoria (centres for book-copying) in Francia. 



Most of the presently surviving works of classical Latin were copied and preserved by Carolingian scholars. Indeed, 
the earliest manuscripts available for many ancient texts are Carolingian. It is almost certain that a text which 
survived to the Carolingian age survives still. 

The pan-European nature of Charlemagne's influence is indicated by the origins of many of the men who worked for 
him: Alcuin, an Anglo-Saxon from York; Theodulf, a Visigoth, probably from Septimania; Paul the Deacon, 
Lombard; Peter of Pisa and Paulinus of Aquileia, Italians; and Angilbert, Angilram, Einhard, and Waldo of 
Reichenau, Franks. 

Charlemagne took a serious interest in scholarship, promoting the liberal arts at the court, ordering that his children 
and grandchildren be well-educated, and even studying himself (in a time when even leaders who promoted 
education did not take time to learn themselves) under the tutelage of Paul the Deacon, from whom he learned 
grammar; Alcuin, with whom he studied rhetoric, dialectic (logic), and astronomy (he was particularly interested in 
the movements of the stars); and Einhard, who assisted him in his studies of arithmetic. 

His great scholarly failure, as Einhard relates, was his inability to write: when in his old age he began attempts to 
learn — practicing the formation of letters in his bed during his free time on books and wax tablets he hid under his 
pillow — "his effort came too late in life and achieved little success", and his ability to read — which Einhard is silent 

about, and which no contemporary source supports — has also been called into question 


In 800, Charlemagne enlarged the hostel at the Muristan in Jerusalem and added a library to it. He certainly had not 
been personally in Jerusalem. 

Writing reforms 

During Charles' reign, the Roman half uncial script and its cursive 
version, which had given rise to various continental minuscule 
scripts, were combined with features from the insular scripts that 
were being used in Irish and English monasteries. Carolingian 
minuscule was created partly under the patronage of Charlemagne. 
Alcuin of York, who ran the palace school and scriptorium at 
Aachen, was probably a chief influence in this. 

The revolutionary character of the Carolingian reform, however, 
can be over-emphasised; efforts at taming the crabbed 
Merovingian and Germanic hands had been underway before 
Alcuin arrived at Aachen. The new minuscule was disseminated 
first from Aachen and later from the influential scriptorium at 
Tours, where Alcuin retired as an abbot. 

Political reforms 

Charlemagne engaged in many reforms of Frankish governance, 
but he continued also in many traditional practices, such as the 
division of the kingdom among sons. 



ti oLucneN xosupp 



[ E 

■ .\SAii<JA U 
quxan secoeljNBif 


[ bituiDgrixOis H 
c R.t'p\ReauooLecM 

BE T:\ceReorjecoQTS 


HI extic-TeReciTposl 

e RSJCnj>,\ r 1 NUOCC 

II e.Yecr*pL\w\ scuff 

cnepxLsAF-T ticr>© 


c3$kcrj ws esSespt 

H pRBecnspeRSA 


II t]u\SKjuiO\cr> vp. 

oexcoxliqti (O IN 

HI 5iTeR5c-oe\cr>eT 

tiercHRi bus Ijbrjs 

II c[ui;\ivTeK-5<?u:\ 




HI (Il^cjuvecucncB 

duplex: cw SAcne 




HI W 00 ' pjusIabok 


II seOpeRTCtiLosA 

s\ceR»os es pi eRi 

■1 pRA^sucnpTiOTu 

luBes eruejtuNON 

B| Oic,\R€=oeceTeR« 


■1 ips (J CD \R O mNJB- 

eTi.xco er>XLeo»co 

■n iuO'1 can D tier) 


BM seNiscnuTAReLlN 1 


Hnl CU\ Cn.6TC,\N€SCM 

SieNicnlvriNfS j 

By recn IMn cnuNDuj 

ex ecop Lxrj b uspP 

BO A° *nit i.x KeTRj\bq 


Bu yie ■p^uuIoTtutr}'! p>onOfxnt| 

HP iu ... i 



Page from the Lorsch Gospels of Charlemagne's reign 


The Carolingian king exercised the bannum, the right to rule and command. He had supreme jurisdiction in judicial 
matters, made legislation, led the army, and protected both the Church and the poor. His administration was an 
attempt to organize the kingdom, church, and nobility around him. However, the effort was heavily dependent upon 
the efficiency, loyalty, and support of his subjects. 



Imperial coronation 

Historians have debated for centuries whether Charlemagne was aware 
of the Pope's intent to crown him Emperor prior to the coronation 
(Charlemagne declared that he would not have entered Saint Peter's 
had he known), but that debate has often obscured the more significant 
question of why the Pope granted the title and why Charlemagne chose 
to accept it once he did. 

Roger Collins points out "[t]hat the motivation behind the acceptance 

of the imperial title was a romantic and antiquarian interest in reviving 

the Roman empire is highly unlikely." For one thing, such romance 

would not have appealed either to Franks or Roman Catholics at the 

turn of the ninth century, both of whom viewed the Classical heritage 

of the Roman Empire with distrust. The Franks took pride in having 

"fought against and thrown from their shoulders the heavy yoke of the 

Romans" and "from the knowledge gained in baptism, clothed in gold 

and precious stones the bodies of the holy martyrs whom the Romans 

had killed by fire, by the sword and by wild animals", as Pippin III 


described it in a law of 763 or 764. 

Throne of Charlemagne and the subsequent 
German Kings in Aachen Cathedral 

Furthermore, the new title — carrying with it the risk that the new 

emperor would "make drastic changes to the traditional styles and 

procedures of government" or "concentrate his attentions on Italy or on Mediterranean concerns more 

generally" — risked alienating the Frankish leadership. 

For both the Pope and Charlemagne, the Roman Empire remained a significant power in European politics at this 
time, and continued to hold a substantial portion of Italy, with borders not very far south of the city of Rome 
itself — this is the empire historiography has labelled the Byzantine Empire, for its capital was Constantinople 
(ancient Byzantium) and its people and rulers were Greek; it was a thoroughly Hellenic state. Indeed, Charlemagne 
was usurping the prerogatives of the Roman Emperor in Constantinople simply by sitting in judgement over the Pope 
in the first place: 

By whom, however, could he [the Pope] be tried? Who, in other words, was qualified to pass judgement on the 
Vicar of Christ? In normal circumstances the only conceivable answer to that question would have been the 
Emperor at Constantinople; but the imperial throne was at this moment occupied by Irene. That the Empress 
was notorious for having blinded and murdered her own son was, in the minds of both Leo and Charles, almost 
immaterial: it was enough that she was a woman. The female sex was known to be incapable of governing, and 
by the old Salic tradition was debarred from doing so. As far as Western Europe was concerned, the Throne of 
the Emperors was vacant: Irene's claim to it was merely an additional proof, if any were needed, of the 
degradation into which the so-called Roman Empire had fallen. 

— John Julius Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, pg. 378 



For the Pope, then, there was "no living Emperor at the that time" 

though Henri Pirenne disputes this saying that the coronation "was 

not in any sense explained by the fact that at this moment a woman 

was reigning in Constantinople." Nonetheless, the Pope took the 

extraordinary step of creating one. The papacy had since 727 been in 

conflict with Irene's predecessors in Constantinople over a number of 

issues, chiefly the continued Byzantine adherence to the doctrine of 

iconoclasm, the destruction of Christian images; while from 750, the 

secular power of the Byzantine Empire in central Italy had been 


By bestowing the Imperial crown upon Charlemagne, the Pope 
arrogated to himself "the right to appoint ... the Emperor of the 
Romans, ... establishing the imperial crown as his own personal gift but 
simultaneously granting himself implicit superiority over the Emperor 
whom he had created." And "because the Byzantines had proved so 
unsatisfactory from every point of view — political, military and 
doctrinal — he would select a westerner: the one man who by his 
wisdom and statesmanship and the vastness of his dominions ... 

Coronation of an idealised king, depicted in the 
Sacramentary of Charles the Bald (about 870) 

stood out head and shoulders above his 

With Charlemagne's coronation, therefore, "the Roman Empire remained, so far as either of them [Charlemagne and 
Leo] were concerned, one and indivisible, with Charles as its Emperor", though there can have been "little doubt that 
the coronation, with all that it implied, would be furiously contested in Constantinople." 

How realistic either Charlemagne or the Pope felt it to be that the people of Constantinople would ever accept the 
King of the Franks as their Emperor, we cannot know; Alcuin speaks hopefully in his letters of an Imperium 
Christianum ("Christian Empire"), wherein, "just as the inhabitants of the [Roman Empire] had been united by a 
common Roman citizenship", presumably this new empire would be united by a common Christian faith 
certainly this is the view of Pirenne when he says "Charles was the Emperor of the ecclesia as the Pope conceived it 


of the Roman Church, regarded as the universal Church". 


What is known, from the Byzantine chronicler 


Theophanes, is that Charlemagne's reaction to his 
coronation was to take the initial steps toward securing 
the Constantinopolitan throne by sending envoys of 
marriage to Irene, and that Irene reacted somewhat 
favorably to them. 

Only when the people of Constantinople reacted to 
Irene's failure to immediately rebuff the proposal by 
deposing her and replacing her with one of her 
ministers, Nicephorus I, did Charlemagne drop any 
ambitions toward the Byzantine throne and begin 
minimising his new Imperial title, and instead return to 
describing himself primarily as rex Francorum et 



Imperial Coronation of Charlemagne, by Friedrich Kaulbach, 1861 

The title of emperor remained in his family for years to come, however, as brothers fought over who had the 
supremacy in the Frankish state. The papacy itself never forgot the title nor abandoned the right to bestow it. When 
the family of Charles ceased to produce worthy heirs, the pope gladly crowned whichever Italian magnate could best 



protect him from his local enemies. 

This devolution led, as could have been expected, to the dormancy of the title for almost forty years (924—962). 
Finally, in 962, in a radically different Europe from Charlemagne's, a new Roman Emperor was crowned in Rome by 
a grateful pope. This emperor, Otto the Great, brought the title into the hands of the kings of Germany for almost a 
millennium, for it was to become the Holy Roman Empire, a true imperial successor to that of Charles, if not 


Divisio regnorum 

In 806, Charlemagne first made provision for the 
traditional division of the empire on his death. For 
Charles the Younger he designated Austrasia and 
Neustria, Saxony, Burgundy, and Thuringia. To Pippin 
he gave Italy, Bavaria, and Swabia. Louis received 
Aquitaine, the Spanish March, and Provence. There 
was no mention of the imperial title however, which 
has led to the suggestion that, at that particular time, 
Charlemagne regarded the title as an honorary 
achievement which held no hereditary significance. 

This division might have worked, but it was never to be 

tested. Pippin died in 810 and Charles in 811. 

Charlemagne then reconsidered the matter, and in 813, 

crowned his youngest son, Louis, co-emperor and 

co-King of the Franks, granting him a half-share of the 

empire and the rest upon Charlemagne's own death. 

The only part of the Empire which Louis was not promised was Italy, which Charlemagne specifically bestowed 

upon Pippin's illegitimate son Bernard. 

The Coronation of Charlemagne, by assistants of Raphael, circa 


Marriages and heirs 

Charlemagne had eighteen children over the course of his life with eight of his ten known wives or concubines 
Nonetheless, he only had four legitimate grandsons, the four sons of his fourth son, Louis. In addition, he had a 
grandson (Bernard of Italy, the only son of his third son, Pippin of Italy), who was born illegitimate but included in 
the line of inheritance. So, despite eighteen children, the claimants to his inheritance were few. 


Marriages and heirs 

Concubinages and illegitimate 


His first relationship was with Himiltrude. The nature of this relationship is variously described as 
concubinage, a legal marriage, or a Friedelehe. (Charlemagne put her aside when he married 
Desiderata.) The union with Himiltrude produced two children: 

181 1 

• Amaudru, a daughter 

• Pippin the Hunchback (ca. 769-8 1 1 ) 

ca. 770 

After her, his first wife was Desiderata, daughter of Desiderius, king of the Lombards; married in 
770, annulled in 771. 



ca. 771 

His second wife was Hildegard (757 or 758—783), married 771, died 783. By her he had nine 

• Charles the Younger (ca. 772—4 December 811), Duke of Maine, and crowned King of the 
Franks on 25 December 800 

• Carloman, renamed Pippin (April 777—8 July 810), King of Italy 

• Adalhaid (774), who was born whilst her parents were on campaign in Italy. She was sent back 
to Francia, but died before reaching Lyons 

• Rotrude (or Hruodrud) (775-6 June 810) 

• Louis (778—20 June 840), twin of Lothair, King of Aquitaine since 781, crowned King of the 
Franks/co-emperor in 813, senior Emperor from 814 


• Lothair (778—6 February 779/780), twin of Louis, he died in infancy 

• Bertha (779-826) 

• Gisela (781-808) 

• Hildegarde (782-783) 

ca. 773 

His first known concubine was 
Gersuinda. By her he had: 

• Adaltrude (b.774) 

ca. 774 

His second known concubine was 
Madelgard. By her he had: 

• Ruodhaid (775-810), abbess of 

ca. 784 

His third wife was Fastrada, married 784, died 794. By her he had: 

• Theodrada (b.784), abbess of Argenteuil 

• Hiltrude (b.787) 

ca. 794 

His fourth wife was Luitgard, married 794, died childless. 

His third known concubine was 
Amaltrud of Vienne. By her he had: 

• Alpaida (b.794) 

ca. 800 

His fourth known concubine was 
Regina. By her he had: 

• Drogo (801-855), Bishop of 
Metz from 823 and abbot of 
Luxeuil Abbey 

• Hugh (802-844), archchancellor 
of the Empire 

ca. 804 

His fifth known concubine was 
Ethelind. By her he had: 

• Richbod (805-844), Abbott of 

• Theodoric (b. 807) 

Further information: Carolingian dynasty 



Cultural uses 

Charlemagne had an immediate afterlife. The author of the Visio Karoli Magni written around 865 uses facts 
gathered apparently from Einhard and his own observations on the decline of Charlemagne's family after the 
dissensions war (840—43) as the basis for a visionary tale of Charles' meeting with a prophetic spectre in a dream. 

Charlemagne, being a model knight as one of the Nine Worthies, enjoyed an 
important afterlife in European culture. One of the great medieval literary cycles, 
the Charlemagne cycle or the Matter of France, centres on the deeds of 
Charlemagne — the Emperor with the Flowing Beard of Roland fame — and his 
historical commander of the border with Brittany, Roland, and the paladins who 
are analogous to the knights of the Round Table or King Arthur's court. Their 
tales constitute the first chansons de geste. 

Charlemagne himself was accorded sainthood inside the Holy Roman Empire 
after the twelfth century. His canonisation by Antipope Paschal III, to gain the 
favour of Frederick Barbarossa in 1165, was never recognised by the Holy See, 
which annulled all of Paschal's ordinances at the Third Lateran Council in 1179. 
His name does not appear among the 28 saints named Charles who are listed in 


the Roman Martyrology. However, his beatification has been acknowledged 
as cultus confirmed and is celebrated on 28 January. In the Divine Comedy the 
spirit of Charlemagne appears to Dante in the Heaven of Mars, among the other "warriors of the faith.' 

Statue of Charlemagne by Agostino 

Cornacchini (1725), St. Peter's 

Basilica, Vatican, Italy 


Stained-glass of Charlemagne sitting on his 

throne in the railway station of Metz, representing 

the imperial protection over Metz during the 

German annexation of the city 

In 809-810, Charlemagne called together a church council in Aachen, 
which confirmed the unanimous belief in the West that the Holy Spirit 
proceeds from the Father and the Son {ex Patre Filioque) and 
sanctioned inclusion in the Nicene Creed of the phrase Filioque (and 
the Son). For this Charlemagne sought the approval of Pope Leo III. 
However, the Pope, while affirming the doctrine and approving its use 
in teaching, opposed its inclusion in the text of the Creed as adopted in 
the 381 First Council of Constantinople. This spoke of the procession 
of the Holy Spirit from the Father, without adding phrases such as "and 
the Son", "through the Son", or "alone". Stressing his opposition, the 
Pope had the original text inscribed in Greek and Latin on two heavy 
shields, which were displayed in Saint Peter's Basilica. 

The city of Aachen has, since 1949, awarded an international prize 
(called the Karlspreis der Stadt Aachen) in honour of Charlemagne. It is awarded annually to "personages of merit 


who have promoted the idea of western unity by their political, economic and literary endeavours." Winners of 
the prize include Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, the founder of the pan-European movement, Alcide De 
Gasperi, and Winston Churchill. 

In its national anthem, El Gran Carlemany, the nation of Andorra credits Charlemagne with its independence. 

Charlemagne is quoted by Dr Henry Jones Sr. (played by Sean Connery) in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. 
After using his umbrella to induce a flock of seagulls to smash through the glass cockpit of a pursuing German 
fighter plane, Henry Jones remarks, "I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne: Let my armies be the rocks and the 
trees and the birds in the sky'." Despite the quote's popularity since the movie, there is no evidence that Charlemagne 
actually said this. 

The Economist, the weekly news and international affairs newspaper, features a one-page article every week entitled 
"Charlemagne", focusing generally on European affairs and, more usually and specifically, on the European Union 
and its politics. 



There is a play named "Carelman Charitham" in the Indian art-form Chavittu Nadakam which is based on the life of 

Christopher Lee's 2011 Symphonic Metal album, Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross features the events of 
Charlemagne's life narrated by Christopher Lee as Charlemagne. 



[1] Butler, Alban (1995). Thurston, Herbert J, S.J.; Atwater, Donald, eds. Butler's Lives of the Saints. Christian Classics. Vol. 1. Allen, Texas: 
Thomas Moore Publishers, pp. 188-189. ISBN 0-87061-045-7. 

[2] McKitterick 2008, pp. 80-81. 

[3] Papst Johannes Paul II (2004). "Ansprache von seiner Heiligkeit Papst Johannes Paul II" ( 
seine_heiligkeit_papst_johannes_paul_ii/ ansprache_von_seiner_heiligkeit_papst_johannes_paul_ii.html) (in German). Internationaler 
Karlspreis zu Aachen. . 

[4] Riche 1993, Preface xviii. "Personally, he enjoyed an exceptional destiny, and by the length of his reign, by his conquests, legislation and 
legendary stature, he also profoundly marked the history of Western Europe." 

[5] The background relies heavily on Einhard, putative 741-829, Years 745-755 

[6] Oman 1914, pp. 409^1-10 portrays the Treaty of Verdun, 843, between the warring grandsons of Charlemagne, as the foundation event of an 
independent France under its first king, Charles the Bald, an independent Germany, under its first king, Louis the German, and an independent 
intermediate state stretching from the low countries along the borderlands to south of Rome under Lothair I, who retained the title of emperor 
and the capitals Aachen and Rome without the jurisdiction. The middle kingdom had broken up by 890. The disposition of its territory 
remained a major source of divisiveness between France, Germany and Italy down to the 20th century. The ultimate solution was the creation 
of smaller nations in the buffer zones, mainly Netherlands and Switzerland but also some very small states. The concept and memory of a 
united Europe remains to the current time. 

[7] Baldwin, Stewart (2007-2009). "Charlemagne" ( The Henry Project. . 

[8] Boulger, Demetrius Charles de Kavanagh (1904). Belgian life in town and country. New York; London: G.P. Putnam's sons. pp. 186—188. 












The historians of the period wrote universally in Latin, regardless of native language. Charles le Magne only translates Carolus Magnus 
given in the Latin manuscripts into French, which was subsequent to whatever language Charles spoke. 

Pokorny, Julius; G. Starotsin; A. Lubotsky (2007). Proto-Indo-European Etymological Dictionary: a Revised Edition of Julius Pokorny's 
Indogermanicshes Etymologisches Worterbuch. Indo-European Language Association, pp. 1192—1193. 

Kobler, Gerhard (2000). "*ger-" ( (in German). Indogermanisches Worterbuch (3rd ed.). 
Gerhard Kobler. . 

Anderson, Perry (1996). Passages from antiquity to feudalism. Verso classics, 2. London; New York. p. 231. 

Barbero 2004, p. 106. 

Keller, R.E. (1964). "The Language of the Franks". Bulletin of the John Rylands Library of Manchester 47 (1): 101—122, esp. 122. 
Chambers, W.W.; Wilkie, J.R. (1970). A short history of the German language. London: Methuen. p. 33. McKitterick 2008, p. 318. 

Einhard 1999, 25. Studies. 

Einhard 1999, 29. Reforms. The names are: Wintarmanoth, Hornung, Lentzinmanoth, Ostarmanoth, Winnemanoth, Brachmanoth, 
Heuvimanoth, Aranmanoth, Witumanoth, Windumemanoth, Herbistmanoth, Heilagmanoth. 

Herwaarden, J. v. (2003). Between Saint James and Erasmus. Studies in late-medieval religious life: devotion and pilgrimage in the 
Netherlands. Leiden: Brill, p. 475. 

Barbero 2004, p. 116. 

Barbero 2004, p. 118. 

Ruhli, F.J.; Blumich, B.; Henneberg, M. (2010). "Charlemagne was very tall, but not robust". Economics and Human Biology 8: 289—290. 

Einhard 1999, 23. Dress. 

Einhard 1999, 4. Plan of This Work 

Einhard 1999, 1. The Merovingian Family 

The Annates uses maiores domus, a plural followed by a singular: one house, two chief officers. Einhard, putative 741-829, Year 742 

Einhard, putative 741-829, Years 745, 746 

Einhard 1999, 3. Charlemagne's Accession 

Collins 1998, pp. 32-33. 

Einhard, putative 741-829, Year 768 

Russell 1930. 

Collins 1987, p. 32. 

Collins 1987, p. 105. 

Charlemagne 255 

[33] Collins 1987, p. 95. 

[34] Douglas & Bilbao 2005, pp. 36—37. Lupus is the Latin translation of Basque Otsoa, "wolf." 

[35] Collins 1987, p. 100. 

[36] Collins 2004, pp. 130—131, "The sequence of events ... has not been assisted by the tendency of the historians to take all the information ... 

from all the available sources and combine it to produce a single synthetic account.... As a rule of thumb, reliability, and also brevity of 

narrative, are usually in direct proportion to chronological proximity. " 
[37] James 2009, p. 49. 
[38] Collins 2004, pp. 131-132. 
[39] James 2009, p. 54 
[40] James & 2009 pp-51-52. 
[41] Douglass & Bilbao 2005, pp. 38-39. 
[42] Douglass & Bilbao 2005, p. 40. 
[43] The story, originally told in the Annales Mettenses priores, is retold in Freeman, Edward Augustus; Holmes, T Scott (1904). Western Europe 

in the eighth century & onward. London, New York: Macmillan and Co.. p. 74. 
[44] Russell 1930, p. 88. 
[45] McKitterick 2008, pp. 118-125. 
[46] Gene W. Heck When worlds collide: exploring the ideological and political foundations of the clash of civilizations Rowman & Littlefield, 

2007 ISBN 0-7425-5856-8, p. 172 Google Books Search ( 
[47] France, John, "The Composition and Raising of the Armies of Charlemagne", in Journal of Medieval Military History, ed. B. Bachrach 

(2002), pp. 63-5 
[48] Revised annals of the kingdom of the Franks, ed. and trans. King, Sources, p. 1 10 
[49] Bruce Ross, James (Apr., 1945). Two Neglected Paladins of Charlemagne: Erich ofFriuli and Ceroid of Bavaria Speculum, Vol. 20, No. 2. 

Medieval Academy of America, pp. 212-235. JSTOR 2854596. 
[50] Sinor, Denis (1990). The Cambridge history' of early Inner Asia. New York: Cambridge University Press, p. 219. ISBN 0-521-24304-1. 
[51] Fine, John Van Antwerp (1991). The early medieval Balkans: a critical survey from the sixth to the late twelfth century (http://books.,+The+Early+Medieval+Balkans&lr=&cd=2#v=snippet& 

q=major victory in 796&f=false). University of Michigan Press, p. 78. ISBN 0-472-08149-7. . 
[52] Klaic, Vjekoslav (1985) (in Croatian). Povijest Hrvata: Knjiga Prva. Zagreb: Nakladni zavod Matice hrvatske. pp. 63—64. 

ISBN 8640100519, 9788640100519. 
[53] Turner, Samuel Epes (1880). Einhard: The Life of Charlemagne (Vita Karoli Magni) ( 

html). New York: Harper & Brothers. . 
[54] James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire, 1 864, pg 62-64 

[55] Tierney, Brian. The Crisis of the Church and State 1050—1300. University of Toronto Press, 1964. p. 17. 
[56] Cf. Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Diplomata Karolinorum I, 77ff; title used from 801 onward. 
[57] Becher, Matthias (2011). "Die AuGenpolitik Karls des GroGen. Zwischen Krieg und Diplomatie" (in German). Damals 2011 Special 

Volume: 33^6. 
[58] eum imperatorem et basileum appellantes, cf. Royal Frankish Annals, a. 812. 
[59] E. Eichmann, Die Kaiserkronung im Abendland I (Wurzburg: 1942), 33. 
[60] Einhard, Life, p. 59 

[61] Peter Godman (1985), Latin Poetry of the Carolingian Renaissance (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press), 206—211. 
[62] Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne, pp. 222—224 
[63] Dutton, PE, Carolingian Civilization: A Reader 
[64] von Hellfeld, Matthias. "Die Geburt zweier Staaten — Die StraGburger Eide vom 14. Februar 842" ( 

0„3840415,00.html) (in German). Deutsche Welle. . Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
[65] Hooper, Nicholas / Bennett, Matthew. The Cambridge illustrated atlas of warfare: the Middle Ages ( 

books ?id=Sf8UIynR0koC&pg=PA12&dq=cavalry+made+the+carolingian+expansion+possible&lr=#v=onepage&q=cavalry made the 

carolingian expansion possible&f=false) Cambridge University Press, 1996, Pg. 12-13 ISBN 0-521-44049-1, 9780521440493 
[66] Bowlus, Charles R. The battle ofLechfeld and its aftermath, August 955: the end of the age of migrations in the Latin West (http://books. ?id=0XBtVwukIogC&pg=PA49&dq=charlemagne+heavy+cavalry+revolution&lr=#v=onepage&q=charlemagne 

heavy cavalry revolution&f=false) Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006, Pg. 49 ISBN 0-7546-5470-2, 9780754654704 
[67] Dutton, Paul Edward, Charlemagne 's Mustache 

[68] Karl der Grosse und das Erbe der Kulturen, Band 1999, Franz-Reiner Erkens, Akademie Verlag, 2001. 
[69] Saint-Denis zwischen Adel und Konig, Rolf GroGe, Thorbecke, Stuttgart 2002. 
[70] "he said that he would have refused to enter the church that day, although it was a major festival, had he been aware of the pope's plans". 

Einhard, The life of Charlemagne, 28 
[71] Collins, Charlemagne, p. 147 
[72] Collins 151 

[73] Collins, Charlemagne, p. 149 
[74] Norwich 379, 

Charlemagne 256 

[75] Mohammed and Charlemagne, pg. 234n 

[76] Norwich, Byzantium: The Apogee, pg. 3 

[77] Pirenne233 

[78] Collins 153 

[79] Durant, Will. "King Charlemagne." ( History of Civilization, Vol III, 
The Age of Faith. Online version in the Knighthood, Tournaments & Chivalry Resource Library, Ed. Brian R. Price. 

[80] Charlemagne's biographer Einhard (Vita Karoli Magni, ch. 20) calls her a "concubine" and Paulus Diaconus speaks of Pippin's birth "before 
legal marriage", whereas a letter by Pope Stephen III refers to Charlemagne and his brother Carloman as being already married (to Himiltrude 
and Gerberga), and advises them not to dismiss their wives. Historians have interpreted the information in different ways. Some, such as 
Pierre Riche (The Carolingians, p.86.), follow Einhard in describing Himiltrude as a concubine. Others, for example Dieter Hagemann (Karl 
der GrofJe. Herrscher des Abendlands, p. 82f), consider Himiltrude a wife in the full sense. Still others subscribe to the idea that the 
relationship between the two was "something more than concubinage, less than marriage" and describe it as a Friedelehe, a form of marriage 
unrecognized by the Church and easily dissolvable. Russell Chamberlin (The Emperor Charlemagne, p. 61.), for instance, compared it with 
the English system of common-law marriage. This form of relationship is often seen in a conflict between Christian marriage and more 
flexible Germanic concepts. 

[81] Gerd Treffer, Die franzosischen Koniginnen. Von Bertrada his Marie Antoinette (8.-18. Jahrhundert) p. 30 (http://www. 

[82] "By [Hildigard] Charlemagne had four sons and four daughters, according to Paul the Deacon: one son, the twin of Lewis, called Lothar, 
died as a baby and is not mentioned by Einhard; two daughters, Hildigard and Adelhaid, died as babies, so that Einhard appears to err in one 
of his names, unless there were really five daughters." Thorpe, Lewis, Two Lives of Charlemagne, p. 185 

[83] Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7), p. 685 

[84] The Filioque: A Church-Dividing Issue?: An Agreed Statement of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Consultation (http://www. 

[85] Adolf Harnack, History of Dogma, The Controversy regarding the Filioque and Pictures ( 

[86] Gerald Bray, The Filioque Clause in History and Theology The Tyndale Historical Lecture 1982 ( 
Library/TynBull_1983_34_04_Bray_FilioqueInHistory.pdf), p. 121 

[87] Chamberlin, Russell, The Emperor Charlemagne, p. ??? 

[88] Quid plura? I "Flying birds, excellent birds..." ( 


• Charlemagne: Biographies and general studies (, 
from Encyclopaedia Britannica, full-article, latest edition. 

• Barbero, Alessandro (2004). Charlemagne: Father of a Continent, trans. Allan Cameron. Berkeley: University of 
California Press. ISBN 0-520-23943-1. 

• Becher, Matthias (2003). Charlemagne, trans. David S. Bachrach. New Haven: Yale University Press. 
ISBN 0-300-09796-4. 

• Collins, Roger (1987) [1986]. The Basques. New York: Basil Blackwell Inc. 

• Collins, Roger (1998). Charlemagne. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 

• Collins, Roger (2004). Visigothic Spain, 409-711. History of Spain. Maiden, MA; Oxford: Blackwell Pub.. 

• Douglass, William A; Bilbao, Jon (2005). Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World. The Basque series. Reno; 
Las Vegas: University of Nevada Press. 

• Einhard, putative (741-829). Annales Regni Francorum (Annales Laurissenses Maiores) (http://www. The Latin Library. 

• Einhard (1999) [1880]. Halsall, Paul. ed. The Life of Charlemagne ( 
einhard.html). trans. Samuel Epes Turner. New York: Harper & Brothers; Medieval Sourcebook, Fordham 

• Ganshof, F. L. (1971). The Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy: Studies in Carolingian History, trans. Janet 
Sondheimer. Ithaca, NY.: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-0635-8. 

• James, David; Ibn al-Qutiyya (2009). Early Islamic Spain: The History oflbn al-Qutiyya: a study of the unique 
Arabic manuscript in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris, with a translation, notes and comments. 
London and New York: Routledge. 

Charlemagne 257 

Langston, Aileen Lewers; and J. Orton Buck, Jr (eds.) (1974). Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne's 

Descendants . Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co.. 

McKitterick, R. (2008). Charlemagne: The Formation of a European Identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge 

University Press. 

Molina Figueras, Joan (2004). "Arnau de Montrodon y la catedral de San Carlomagno: sobre la imagen y el culto 

al emperador carolingio en Gerona" (in Spanish). Anuario de Estudios Medievales 34 (1): 417—454. 

Oman, Charles (1914). The Dark Ages, 476-918 (6th ed. ed.). London: Rivingtons. 

Painter, Sidney (1953). A History of the Middle Ages, 284-1500. New York: Knopf. 

Pirenne, Henri (2001) [1937 posthumous]. Mohammed and Charlemagne (Dover ed.). Mineola, N.Y.: Dover 


Riche, Pierre (1993). The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe. Middle Ages Series. Philadelphia: 

University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1342-4. 

Russell, Charles Edward (1930). Charlemagne, first of the moderns. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin 


Santosuosso, Antonio (2004). Barbarians, Marauders, and Infidels: The Ways of Medieval Warfare. Boulder, 

Colo.: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-9153-9. 

Scholz, Bernhard Walter; with Barbara Rogers (1970). Carolingian Chronicles: Royal Frankish Annals and 

Nithard's Histories. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08790-8. Comprises the Annales 

regni Francorum and The History of the Sons of Louis the Pious 

Sypeck, Jeff (2006). Becoming Charlemagne: Europe, Baghdad, and The Empires ofA.D. 800. New York: 

Ecco/HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-079706-1. 

Tierney, Brian (1964). The Crisis of Church and State 1050—1300. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 

ISBN 0802067018. 

Wilson, Derek (2005). Charlemagne: The Great Adventure. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-179461-7. 

External links 

Einhard. "Einhardi Vita Karoli Magni" ( Medieval Latin. The Latin 


Bakker, Marco (2003-2011). "Charlemagne" ( 


The Sword of Charlemagne ( ( 


Snell, Melissa (2011). "Charlemagne Picture Gallery" ( 

carolingianempire/ig/Charlemagne-Picture-Gallery/index_t.htm). Medieval History. 

Charter given by Charlemagne ( 

width/"61097height/"61097url/"http:{l} {1)137.248. 186. 134{l}lba-cgi-local{l}{-}jpg{l}E306.jpg") 

for St. Emmeram's Abbey showing the Emperor's seal, 22.2.794 . Taken from the collections of the 

Lichtbildarchiv alterer Originalurkunden ( at Marburg University 




Chulalongkorn the Great 

King Rama V 

* r ^ 


afar i J 



King of Siam 




Vice King 

I October 1868 - 23 October 1910 

II November 1868 (1st time) 
16 November 1873 (2nd time) 

Mongkut (Rama IV) 
Vajiravudh (Rama VI) 

Si Suriyawongse (1868—1873) 
Saovabha Bongsri (1897) 
Vajiravudh (1907) 

Bovorn Vichaichan (1868-1885) 


Queen Sunandha Kumariratana 

Queen Sukumalmarsri 

Queen Savang Vadhana 

Queen Saovabha Bongsri 

and 92 other consorts and concubines 


33 sons and 44 daughters 





Chakri Dynasty 


20 September 1853 
Bangkok, Siam 

23 October 1910 (aged 57) 
Bangkok, Siam 

Theravada Buddhism 

Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Chulalongkorn Phra Chunla Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua (Thai: 
1AltSTJnvi?13Jl,5iqiAl^lJtSt!Vlt3JVnwnpl-3ntai a 1 ■WWaSMiaiUfia'lKrifiain), or Rama V (20 September 1853 - 23 
October 1910) was the fifth monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri. He was known to the Siamese of his time 
as Phra Phuttha Chao Luang (VI^JVjVlfiWTMaQ>l - The Royal Buddha). He is considered one of the greatest kings 
of Siam. His reign was characterized by the modernization of Siam, immense government and social reforms, and 



territorial cessions to the British Empire and French Indochina. As Siam was threatened by Western expansionism, 
Chulalongkorn, through his policies and acts, managed to save Siam from being colonized. All his reforms were 
dedicated to Siam's insurance of survival in the midst of Western colonialism, so that Chulalongkorn earned the 
epithet Phra Piya Maharat (1/\l1it€£ll4VniiTB - The Great Beloved King). 

Early life 

King Chulalongkorn was born on 20 September 1853 to King Mongkut and 
Queen Debsirindra and given the name Chulalongkorn. In 1861, he was 
designated Krommameun Pikanesuarn Surasangkat. His father gave him a broad 
education, including instruction from European tutors such as Anna Leonowens. 
In 1866, he became a novice monk for six months in Wat Bawonniwet according 
to royal tradition. Upon his return to his secular life in 1867, he was designated 
Krommakhun Pinit Prachanat (mSJ^UW'Uifl'LbS'H'l'trifl.) 

In 1867, King Mongkut led an expedition to the Malay Peninsula south of Hua 

Hin, to verify his calculations of the Solar eclipse of 18 August 1868. Both 

father and son fell ill of malaria and Mongkut died on 1 Oct. 1868. Supposing the 

15-year-old Chulalongkorn also to be dying, King Mongkut on his deathbed had 

written, "My brother, my son, my grandson, whoever you all the senior officials 

think will be able to save our country will succeed my throne, choose at your 

own will." Si Suriyawongse, the most powerful government official of the day, 

managed the succession of Chulalongkorn to the throne, and his own appointment as regent. The coronation was 

held on 11 November 1868. Chulalongkorn' s health improved, and he was tutored in public affairs, traveled to India 

(then under the British Raj) and Java (then under Dutch colonial rule) to observe modern administration. He was 

King Mongkut with Prince 

Chulalongkorn, both in Naval 


crowned king in his own right as Rama V on 16 Nov. 1873 


Si Suriyawongse then arranged the title of Front Palace of King Pinklao (who was his uncle) to be succeeded by 
King Pinklao's son, Prince Yingyot (who was then Chulalongkorn's cousin). 

The young Chulalongkorn was an enthusiastic king craving for reforms. He visited Singapore and Java in 1870 and 
British India during 1870—1872 to see the administration of British colonies. He toured the administrative centres of 
Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay and back to Calcutta in early 1872. This journey was later the source of his ideas and 
methodology of the modernization of Siam. 

As a regent, Si Suriyawongse wielded a great influence. Si Suriyawongse continued the works of King Mongkut. He 
supervised the digging of several important khlongs, such as Padung Krungkasem and Damneun Saduak, and the 
paving of roads such as Chareon Krung and Silom. He was also the patron of Thai literature and performing arts. 



Photograph of the young King. 

The Young King 

In 1873, the king became a monk again and returned. The second coronation was 
held in the same year to celebrate the king's maturity. 

At the end of his regency, Si Suriyawonse was raised to Somdet Chao Phraya, 
the highest title the nobility could attain. Si Suriyawongse himself was the most 
powerful noble of the 19th century. His family, Bunnag, was a powerful one of a 
Persian descent dominating the Siamese politics since the reign of Rama I. 
Chulalongkorn then married four of his half-sisters. They were all the daughters 
of Mongkut — Savang Vadhana, Saovabha, and Sunandha with Concubine Piam 
and Sukumalmarsri with Concubine Samli. 

In the same year, Chulalongkorn's first reform was to establish the Auditory 

Office (Th: ViaTUfpnTWIAieam) - to replace the corrupted tax collectors as the 

only institution that collects taxes. As the tax collectors were under the patronage 

of various nobles and also provided the financial support to the patron, this 

caused a great disruption among the nobility, especially the Front Palace. Since 

the time of King Mongkut, the title of Front Palace had been as powerful as the 

"second king", with one-third of national revenue devoted to it. Moreover, Prince Yingyot of the Front Palace was 

known to be acquainted with many British men, in a time when the British Empire was considered the enemy of 


In 1874, Chulalongkorn chartered the Council of State — as a legislative body — and Privy Council — as his personal 
counsel based on the British privy council. The members of the councils were appointed by the monarch. 

Front Palace crisis 

In 1874, the Grand Palace was bombed and a fire raged through it. The Front Palace gave no help in extinguishing 
the fire. This raised suspicions. Prince Yingyot hid himself in the British consulate so that Chulalongkorn could do 
him no harm. However, the king was waiting, ready to strike, and the tensions continued, until the retired Si 
Suriyawongse returned from Ratchaburi to calm the conflicts. 

The "Front Palace Crisis" incident indicated how much power was wielded by the aristocrats and royal relatives, 
leaving the king little power. This would become one of his main motives to reform the feudal Siam politics, 
reducing the power held by the nobility. 

When Prince Yingyot died in 1885, Chulalongkorn took that opportunity to abolish the titular Front Palace and 
created the title of "Crown Prince of Siam" in accordance with the Western style. Chulalongkorn's son, Prince 
Vajirunhis, was appointed the first Crown Prince of Siam, though he never reigned. In 1895, the Prince died of 
typhoid at age 17, he was succeeded by his half-brother Vajiravudh, who was then at boarding school in England. 

After that, Sri Suriyawongse withdrew from politics, as did the Bunnak family. 

Heo insurgency 

In the northern Laotian lands bordering China, the insurgents of the Taiping rebellion had taken refuge since the 
reign of King Mongkut. These Chinese were called The Heos and became bandits pillaging the villages. In 1875, 
Chulalongkorn sent troops from Bangkok to crush the Heos as they ravaged as far as Vientiane. However, they met 
strong Chinese resistance and retreated to Isan in 1885. New, modernized forces were sent again and were divided 
into two groups approaching the Heos from Chiang Kam and Pichai. The Heos scattered and some fled to Vietnam. 
The Siamese armies proceeded to eliminate the remaining Heos. The city of Nong Khai maintains memorials for the 
Siamese dead. 



Military and Political Reforms 

Freed from the Front Palace and Chinese rebellions, Chulalongkorn initiated his reforms. He established the Royal 
Military Academy in 1887 to train the troops in Western fashion. The modernized forces provided the king much 
more power to centralize the country. 

The government of Siam had remained rather unchanged since the fifteenth century. The central government was 
headed by the Samuha Nayok (i.e. Prime Minister), who controlled the northern parts of Siam, and the Samuha 
Kalahom (i.e. Grand Commander), who controlled the southern Siam in both civil and military affairs. The Samuha 
Nayok presided over the Chatu Sadombh (i.e. Four Pillars). The responsibilities of each pillar were rather 
overlapping and uncertain. In 1888, Chulalongkorn tried the new ministerial government. The ministers were, in the 
beginning, the members of royal family. The official establishment of ministries was promulgated in 1892, with all 
ministries in equal status. 

The Council of State proved unable to veto the legal drafts or to give Chulalongkorn advices because the members 
still respected Chulalongkorn as an absolutist monarch. Chulalongkorn then dissolved the Council altogether and 
transferred the duty to give advices to the cabinet in 1894. 

Chulalongkorn also abolished the traditional Nakorn Bala methods of tortures in judiciary process, which was seen 
as inhumane and barbaric by Western and Modern views, and introduced the Western code. His Belgian advisor, 
Rolin-Jaequemyns, played a great role in the development of modern Siamese law and judicial system. 

Call for democracy 

Chulalongkorn was the first Siamese king to send the royal princes to Europe to be educated. In nineteenth century 
Europe, nationalism flourished and there was a call for liberty. The princes, of course, had been influenced by the 
liberal ideas of democracy and elections. They encountered republics like France and constitutional monarchies like 
the United Kingdom. 

In 1884 (103 of Rattakosin Era), Siamese officials in London and Paris arranged a request to Chulalongkorn, citing 
the threats from European colonialism were coming and Siam should be reformed like Meiji Japan and Siam should 
became a constitutional monarchy. However, Chulalongkorn stated that it was not yet time and he himself was 
urging reforms. 

Throughout Chulalongkorn' s reign, writers with radical ideas had their works published for the first time. The most 
notable ones included Tianwan, who had been imprisoned for 17 years and from prison he produced many works 
criticizing the old Siamese society. 

Photograph of the King with his sons in England 

in 1897. The King during his lifetime had 92 

consorts who, among them, would produce 77 


The King had many buildings constructed during 

his long reign including the Ananda Samakhom 

Throne Hall in 1908... 



..and the Vimanmek Palace in 1900. 

In 1863, King Norodom of Cambodia was forced to put his own country under 
the French Protectorate. The cession of Cambodia was officially formulated in 
1867. However, Inner Cambodia (as called in Siam) consisting of Battambang, 
Siemreap, and Srisopon, remained a Siamese possession. This was the first of 
many territorial cessions. 

In 1887, French Indochina was formed from Vietnam and Cambodia. In 1888, 
French troops invaded Northern Laos to subjugate the Heo insurgents. However, 
the French troops never left, and the French demanded more Laotian lands. In 
1893 Auguste Pavie, the French vice-consul of Luang Prabang, requested the 
cession of all Laotian lands east of the Mekong River. Siam resented the demand, 
leading to the Franco-Siamese War of 1893. 

The French gunboat Le Latin entered the Chao Phraya and anchored near the 

French consulate ready to attack. Fighting was observed in Laos. Inconstant and 

Comete were attacked in Chao Phraya, and the French sent an ultimatum: an 

indemnity of three million francs, as well as the cession of and withdrawal from 

Laos. Siam did not accept the ultimatum. French troops then blockaded the Gulf of Siam and occupied Chantaburi 

and Trat. Chulalongkorn sent Rolin-Jacquemyns to negotiate. The issue was eventually settled with the cession of 

Laos in 1893, but the French troops in Chantaburi and Trat refused to leave. 

The cession of vast Laotian lands had a major impact on Chulalongkorn' s spirit. Prince Vajirunhis died in 1894. 
Prince Vajiravudh was created crown prince to replace him. Chulalongkorn realised the importance of maintaining 
the navy and established the Royal Thai Naval Academy in 1898. 

Despite Siamese concessions, French armies continued the occupation of Chantaburi and Trat for another 10 years. 
An agreement was reached in 1903 that French troops would leave Chantaburi but hold the coast land from Trat to 
Koh Kong. In 1906, the final agreement was reached. Trat was returned to Siam but the French kept Koh Kong and 
received Inner Cambodia. 

Seeing the seriousness of foreign affairs, Chulalongkorn visited Europe in 1897; he was the first Siamese monarch to 
do so, and he desired European recognition of Siam as a fully independent and honorable power. He appointed his 
queen, Saovabha, as regent in Siam during his travel to Europe. 

Chulalongkorn (Above left) with 
contemporary monarchs 




Siam had been composed of the network of cities according to the 
Mandala system codified by King Trailokanat in 1454, with local 
rulers owing tribute to Bangkok. Each city retained a substantial degree 
of autonomy, as Siam wasn't a "state" but a "network" of city-states. 
With the rise of European colonialism, the Western concept of state 
and territorial division was introduced. It had to define explicitly which 
lands were "Siamese" and which lands were "foreign". The conflict 
with the French in 1893 was an example. 

Monthon system 

With his experiences during the travel to British colonies and the 

suggestion of Prince Damrong, Chulalongkorn instigated the 

hierarchical system of Monthons in 1897, composing of Province, 

City, Amphoe, Tambon, and Mhu Ban (village) in the descending order. 

(Though a whole monthon — the Eastern Province — e.g. Inner 

Cambodia — was given off to the French in 1906) Each monthon was 

overseen by an intendant of the Ministry of Interior. This had a major 

impact, ending the power of all local dynasties. The central authority now spread all over the country through the 

administration of intendants. For example, the Lanna states in the north (including the Kingdom of Chiangmai, 

Principalities of Lampang, Lampoon, Nan, and Prae) owing tributaries to Bangkok, were made into two monthons, 

neglecting the existence of the Lanna kings. 

Local rulers did not give up easily, as three rebellions sprang up in 1901 — the Ngeaw rebellion in Prae, the Phi Buns 
in Isan, and the Rebellion of Seven Sultans in the south. All these insurgents were crushed in 1902 with the city 
rulers were stripped off their power, and imprisoned. 

King Chulalongkorn with Tsar Nicholas II in 

Saint Petersburg, during the King's first Grand 

Tour in 1897. 

Abolition of Corvee and Slavery 

Ayutthaya King Ramathibodi II established a system of corvee in 1581 after 
which the lives of Siamese commoners and slaves were closely regulated by the 
government. All Siamese common men (phrai llAIH) were subject to the Siamese 
corvee system. Each man at the time of his majority had to register with a 
government bureau, department or leading member of the royalty called krom 
(fTSJJ) as a Phrai Luang (XlAlliVlflKI) or under a nobleman's master (Moon Nai or 
Chao Khun Moon Nai USUI?] VltaWTqtlJjatnEJ) as a Phrai Som (llAltau). 
Phrai owed service to sovereign or master for three months of the year. Phrai 
Suay (IlAl^aiEJ) were those who could make payment in kind (cattle) in lieu of 
service. Those conscripted into military service were called Phrai Tahan 

The corvee system declined after the Bowring Treaty, which gave rise to a new 
class of employed labourers not regulated by the government, while many 
noblemen continued to hold sway over large numbers of Phrai Som. Chulalongkorn needed more effective control of 
manpower to undo the power of nobility. After the establishment of a provincial system, Chulalongkorn began the 

census to get the statistics of all men available to the government. The Employment Act of 1900 required that all 
workers be paid, not forced to work. The Conscription Act of 1905 established military conscription in Siam, thus 



ending the traditional corvee system. 

Chulalongkorn was best known for his abolition of Siamese slavery (Vila.) He associated the abolition of slavery in 
the United States with the bloodshed of the American Civil War. Chulalongkorn, to prevent such a bloodbath in 
Siam, provided several steps towards the abolition of slavery, not an extreme turning point from servitude to total 
freedom. Those who found themselves unable to live on their own sold themselves into slavery by rich noblemen. 
Likewise, when a debt was defaulted, the borrower would became a slave of the lender. If the debt was redeemed, 
the slave regained freedom. 

However, those whose parents were household slaves (vnJU'WSa'Ut'LIEJ), were bound to be slaves forever because 
their redemption price was extremely high. 

Because of economic conditions, people sold themselves into slavery in great numbers and in turn they produced a 
large number of household slaves. In 1867 they accounted for one-third of Siamese population. In 1874, 
Chulalongkorn enacted a law that lowered the redemption price of household slaves born in 1867 (his ascension 
year) and freed all of them when they had reached 21. 

The newly freed slaves would have time to settle themselves as farmers or merchants so they would not become 
unemployed. In 1905, the Slave Abolition Act ended Siamese slavery in all forms. The reverse of 100-baht notes in 
circulation since the 2005 centennial depict Chulalongkorn in navy uniform abolishing the slave tradition. 


The construction of railways in Siam had a political basis: to connect all the country to have an eye on every part of 
Siam. In 1901, the first railway was opened from Bangkok to Korat. In the same year, the first power plant of Siam 
gave off its energy. Electric lights were turned on along the roads. 

Relations with British Empire 

Monarchs of 

the Chakri 



Buddha Yodfa 
(King Rama I) 

Buddha Loetla Nabhalai 
(King Rama II) 


(King Rama III) 

(King Rama IV) 



(King Rama V) 

(King Rama VI) 

(King Rama VII) 


Ananda Mahidol 
(King Rama VIII) 

Bhumibol Adulyadej 
(King Rama IX) 



Siamese authorities had exercised a substantial control over Malay sultanates since Ayutthaya times. The sultans 
sought British support to counterweight Siamese influence. In 1909, the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 was 
formulated. Four sultanates (namely Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, and Perlis) were brought under British influence 
in exchange for Siamese legal rights and a loan to construct railways in southern Siam. 

Death and legacy 

The Royal Equestrian Statue of Chulalongkorn was finished in 1908 to 
celebrate the 40th anniversary of the king's reign. It was cast in bronze 
by a Parisian metallurgist, and then placed on the marble. 
Chulalongkorn had visited Europe two times in 1897 and 1907; the 
latter time was to cure his kidney disease. His last accomplishment was 
the establishment of a plumbing system in 1908. He died on 23 
October 1910 of his kidney disease in Dusit Palace, and was succeeded 
by his son Vajiravudh. 

Chulalongkorn University, founded in 1917 as the first university in 
Thailand, was named in his honour. 

Statue of the King in the Royal Plaza (Thailand), 
Dusit, Bangkok. 

In 1997 a memorial pavilion was raised in honor of King 

Chulalongkorn in Ragunda, Sweden. This was done to commemorate King Chulalongkorn's visit to Sweden in 1897 
where he visited the World Fair. During the time when Swedish-Norwegian king Oscar II travelled to Norway for a 
council, Chulalongkorn went up north to study forestry. Beginning in Harnosand and travelling via Solleftea and 
Ragunda he mounted a boat in the small village of Utanede in order to take him back through Sundsvall to 
Stockholm. His passage through Utanede left a mark on the village as one street was named after the king. The 
pavilion is erected right next to that road. 

In 2003, the Thai baht 100-baht note was revised to depict King Chulalongkorn in navy uniform and, in the 
background, abolishing the slave tradition. 

Titles and styles 

• 1853—1866: His Royal Highness Prince Chulalongorn, the Prince 
Biganeshavara Surasankas (Krom Muen Biganeshavara Surasankas) 

• 1866—1868: His Royal Highness Prince Chulalongorn, the Prince 
Binit Prajanart (Krom Khun Binit Prajanart) 

• 1868-1910: His Majesty King Chulalongkorn (King Chula 


[1] YourDictionary, n.d. (23 November 2011). "Chulalongkorn" (http://www. (Web). Biography. YourDictionary. Archived from the 
original ( on 1 December 
201 1. . Retrieved 1 December 201 1. "When Thailand was seriously threatened by 
Western colonialism, his diplomatic policies averted colonial domination and his 
domestic reforms brought about the modernization of his kingdom." 

[2] Leonowens, Anna Harriette (1873). "XIX. The Heir— Apparent — Royal 

Hair— Cutting." ( 

Royal coat of arms of the Kingdom of Siam, 

introduced by King Chulalongkorn, the arms was 

the Emblem of Siam from 1878 to 1910. 



html). The English Governess at the Siamese Court ( 
Boston: James R. Osgood. . Retrieved 1 December 2011. "The Prince. ..was about ten years old when I was appointed to teach him." 
[3] Derick Gamier (30 March 201 1). "Captain John Bush, 1819-1905" ( Web. Christ Church 
Bangkok. . Retrieved 1 December 201 1. "in 1868, down to Hua Wan (south of Hua Hinh)" 

External links 

• King Chulalongkorn Day ( 
king-chulalongkorn-day/) at Chiang Mai Best 

• A clip of King Chulalongkorns 1897 visit to Sweden ( 

• Investiture of His Majesty Somdetch Pra Paramindr Maha Chulalonkorn, King of Siam, with the Ensigns of a 
Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (http://www. 

• Biography of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn Rama V ( 

Chlothar II 

Chlothar II (or Chlotar, Clothar, Clotaire, Chlotochar, or Hlothar, giving rise 
to Lothair; 584—629), called the Great {le Grand) or the Young (le Jeune), King 
of Neustria, and, from 613 to 629, King of all the Franks, was not yet born when 
his father, King Chilperic I died in 584. His mother, Fredegund, was regent until 
her death in 597, at which time the thirteen-year-old Chlothar began to rule for 
himself. As king, he continued his mother's feud with Brunhilda, queen of 
Austrasia, with equal viciousness and bloodshed. 


In 599, he made war with his nephews, Theuderic II of Burgundy and 
Theudebert II of Austrasia, who defeated him at Dormelles (near Montereau). At 
this point, however, the two brothers took up arms against each other. In 605, he 
invaded Theuderic's kingdom, but did not subdue it. He remained often at war 
with Theuderic until the latter died in Metz in late 613 while preparing a 
campaign against him. At that time, Warnachar, mayor of the palace of 
Austrasia, and Rado, mayor of the palace of Burgundy, abandoned the cause of 
Brunhilda and her great-grandson, Sigebert II, and the entire realm was delivered 
into Chlothar's hands. Brunhilda and Sigebert met Chlothar's army on the Aisne, 
but the Patrician Aletheus, Duke Rocco, and Duke Sigvald deserted the host and 
the grand old woman and her king had to flee. They got as far as the Orbe, but 
Chlothar's minions caught up with them by the lake Neuchatel. Both of them and 
Sigebert's younger brother Corbo were executed by Chlothar's orders. 

Coin of Chlothar II. 

The kingdom of Chlothar at the start 

of his reign (yellow). By 613 he had 

inherited or conquered all of the 

coloured portions of the map. 

In that year, Chlothar II became the first king of all the Franks since his grandfather Chlothar I died in 561 by 
ordering the murder of the infant Sigebert II (son of Theuderic), whom the aging Brunhilda had attempted to set on 
the thrones of Austrasia and Burgundy, causing a rebellion among the nobility. This 

Chlothar II 


led to the delivery of Brunhilda into Chlothar's hands, his thirst for vengeance 
leading to his formidable old aunt enduring the agony of the rack for three whole 
days, before suffering a horrific death, dragged to death by an unbroken horse. 

In 614/615, Chlothar II promulgated the Edict of Paris, a sort of Frankish Magna 
Carta that reserved many rights to the Frankish nobles while it excluded Jews 
from all civil employment for the Crown. The ban effectively placed all 

literacy in the Merovingian monarchy squarely under ecclesiastical control and 
also greatly pleased the nobles, from whose ranks the bishops were ordinarily 
exclusively drawn. Chlothar was induced by Warnachar and Rado to make the 
mayoralty of the palace a lifetime appointment at Bonneuil-sur-Marne, near 
Paris, in 617. By these actions, Chlothar lost his own legislative abilities and the 
great number of laws enacted in his reign are probably the result of the nobles' 
petitions, which the king had no authority not to heed. 



*M*»n! fiit& (xnrf&iB'maW'LaiBrieSe/i 
#mii- aSIMit Ce« OmtSueSiKocu. oft (W 

A treaty of King Chlothar II and the 


In 623, he gave the kingdom of Austrasia to his young son Dagobert I. This was a political move as repayment for 
the support of Bishop Arnulf of Metz and Pepin I, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, the two leading Austrasian 
nobles, who were effectively granted semi-autonomy. 

Chlothar II died in 629 after 45 years on the throne, longer than any other Merovingian dynast save for his 
grandfather Chlotar I, who ruled from 51 1 to 561. He left the crown greatly reduced in power and prepared the way 
for the rise of the mayors and the rois faineants . 


The first spouse of Chlothar II was Haldetrude (ca. 575—604). She was the mother of Dagobert I. Chlothar's second 
spouse was Bertrada. His third spouse was Sichilde, who bore him Charibert II and a daughter, Oda. 


[1] Alan Harding, Medieval Law and the Foundations of the State, (Oxford University Press, 2001), 14. 

[2] S. Wise Bauer, The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade, (W.W. Norton & Company, 
2010), 251. 

Further reading 

• Bachrach, Bernard S. (1972). Merovingian Military Organization, 481—751. Minneapolis: University of 
Minnesota Press, ISBN 0-81660-621-8. 

• Geary, Patrick J. (1988). Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian 
World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19504-458-4. 

• James, Edward (1991). The Franks. London: Blackwell, ISBN 0-63114-872-8. 

• Oman, Charles (1914). The Dark Ages, 476-918. London: Rivingtons. 

• Wallace-Hadrill, J. M. (1962). The Long-Haired Kings, and Other Studies in Frankish History. London: Methuen. 

• Wood, Ian N. (1994). The Merovingian Kingdoms, 450-751. London: Longman, ISBN 0-58221-878-0. 

Conrad, Margrave of Meissen 


Conrad, Margrave of Meissen 

Conrad the Great 

Conrad the Great in the Furstenzug in Dresden 
Margrave of Meissen 



Successor Otto II 

Margrave of Lusatia 



Henry III 

Dietrich I 


Luitgard of Elchingen-Ravenstein 

Otto II, Margrave of Meissen 

Theodoric I, Margrave of Lusatia 

Dedo III, Margrave of Lusatia 

Henry I, Count of Wettin 

Frederick I of Brehna 

Adela, Queen of Denmark 

Agnes II, Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg 





House of Wettin 

Thimo of Wettin 
Ida of Nordheira 


5 February 1157 

Monastery of St Peter auf dem Lauterberg 

Monastery of St Peter auf dem Lauterberg 

Conrad the Great (ca. 1097 — 5 February 1157) was the Margrave of Meissen from 1123 until his retirement in 
1 156. He was the son of Thimo, Count of Brehna, of the House of Wettin and Ida, daughter of Otto of Nordheim. He 
was also Count of Wettin, Brehna, and Camburg from before 1116. 

In 1 123, he became Count of Eilenburg. That same year, Lothair of Supplinburg, Duke of Saxony, appointed him 
Margrave of Meissen in opposition to Wiprecht von Groitzsch, the appointee of the Emperor Henry V. Lothair also 
named Albert the Bear Margrave of Lusatia, while Henry named Wiprecht to that march also. Wiprecht was unable 

Conrad, Margrave of Meissen 269 

to hold his own against his two opponents and in 1124 Conrad was securely in power in Meissen. In 1136, Lothair, 
then emperor, appointed him to Lusatia as well. Thereafter, Upper Lusatia remained a part of Meissen and the march 
of Lusatia was reduced to Lower Lusatia alone. 

In 1 143, Conrad became Count of Groitzsch and Rochlitz and Vogt of Chemnitz and Naumburg. In 1 147, while 
Conrad III of Germany was away on the Second Crusade, Conrad the Great joined Henry the Lion, Adalbert of 
Salzwedel, Albert the Bear, and the Archbishops of Magdeburg and Bremen to organise a Crusade against the 
Obodrites and Wagri. In August, Conrad and Albert, with the bishops of Magdeburg, Havelburg, and Brandenburg, 
massed their forces at Magdeburg. The Obodrite prince Niklot and his fortressess of Dubin and Dimin were 
besieged. Both he and Pribislav, another Obodrite prince, were forced to accept Christianity and make peace. 

In the following years, he founded the monastery of St Peter auf dem Lauterberg (Petersberg), to which he retired on 
30 November 1156. He died and was buried there next to his wife, Luitgard (Lucarda) von Elchingen-Ravenstein, 
daughter of Adalbert, Count of Elchingen-Ravenstein and Bertha of Hohenstaufen, daughter of Frederick I, Duke of 
Swabia and Agnes of Germany. 

Marriage and issue 

Luitgard of Elchingen-Ravenstein, whom he had married before 1119, had blessed him with many children. His 
eldest surviving son, Otto II, Margrave of Meissen, succeeded him in Meissen, while his second surviving son, 
Dietrich I, succeeded in Lusatia. His son Henry I, Count of Wettin married Sophia of Sommerschenburg, Countess 
Palatine of Saxony, daughter of Count Fredrick II of Sommerschenburg and Countess Liutgard of Stade, queen 
dowager of Denmark. 

• Heinrich (i.e. Henry; died young) 

• Otto II 

• Dietrich I 

• Dedo V. der Feiste 

• Henry I, Count of Wettin, married (1) Sophia of Sommerschenburg (d. 1 189 or 1 190), daughter of Count Fredrick 
II of Sommerschenburg, Count Palatine of Saxony and his wife Countess Liutgard of Stade (later queen of 

Friedrich I von Brehna 

Adela, Queen consort of Denmark 
Agnes II, Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg 


• Thompson, James Westfall. Feudal Germany, Volume II. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1928. 

Constantine the Great 


Constantine the Great 

Constantine I 

57th Emperor of the Roman Empire 

Head of Constantine's colossal statue at the Capitoline Museums. The original statue of marble was acrolithic with the torso consisting of a cuirass 

in bronze. 


25 July 306 AD - 29 October 312 AD 
29 October 312-19 September 324 [3] 
19 September 324 - 22 May 337 [4] 


Full name 


Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus 

27 February ca. 272 
Naissus, Moesia 


Place of death 

22 May 337 (aged 65) 


Constantius I 

Constantine II 
Constantius II 
Constans I 



Minervina, died or divorced before 307 

Constantine II 
Constantius II 


Constantinian dynasty 
Constantius Chlorus 



Constantine the Great 27 1 

Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; c. 27 February 272 — 22 May 

337), also known as Gonstantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for 


being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of 
Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all religions throughout the empire. 

The foremost general of his time, Constantine defeated the emperors Maxentius and Licinius during civil wars. He 
also fought successfully against the Franks, Alamanni, Visigoths, and Sarmatians during his reign — even resettling 
parts of Dacia which had been abandoned during the previous century. Constantine built a new imperial residence in 
place of Byzantium, naming it New Rome. However, in Constantine's honour, people called it Constantinople, which 
would later be the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for over one thousand years. Because of this, he is thought of 
as the founder of the Eastern Roman Empire. 


Constantine was a ruler of major historical importance, but he has always been a controversial figure. The 

fluctuations in Constantine's reputation reflect the nature of the ancient sources for his reign. These are abundant and 

detailed, but have been strongly influenced by the official propaganda of the period, and are often 

ri2i ri3i 

one-sided. There are no surviving histories or biographies dealing with Constantine's life and rule. The nearest 

replacement is Eusebius of Caesarea's Vita Constantini, a work that is a mixture of eulogy and hagiography. 

Written between 335 and circa 339, the Vita extols Constantine's moral and religious virtues. The Vita creates 

n 71 n si 

a contentiously positive image of Constantine, and modern historians have frequently challenged its reliability. 

The fullest secular life of Constantine is the anonymous Origo Constantini. A work of uncertain date, the 

Origo focuses on military and political events, to the neglect of cultural and religious matters. 

Lactantius' De Mortibus Persecutorum, a political Christian pamphlet on the reigns of Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, 


provides valuable but tendentious detail on Constantine's predecessors and early life. The ecclesiastical histories 

of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret describe the ecclesiastic disputes of Constantine's later reign. Written 

during the reign of Theodosius II (408—50), a century after Constantine's reign, these ecclesiastic historians obscure 

the events and theologies of the Constantinian period through misdirection, misrepresentation and deliberate 

obscurity. The contemporary writings of the orthodox Christian Athanasius and the ecclesiastical history of the 

Arian Philostorgius also survive, though their biases are no less firm. 

The epitomes of Aurelius Victor {De Caesaribus), Eutropius (Breviarium), Festus (Breviarium), and the anonymous 
author of the Epitome de Caesaribus offer compressed secular political and military histories of the period. Although 
not Christian, the epitomes paint a favorable image of Constantine, but omit reference to Constantine's religious 

policies. The Panegyrici Latini, a collection of panegyrics from the late third and early fourth centuries, provide 

valuable information on the politics and ideology of the tetrarchic period and the early life of Constantine. 


Contemporary architecture, like the Arch of Constantine in Rome and palaces in Gamzigrad and Cordoba, 
epigraphic remains, and the coinage of the era complement the literary sources. 

Constantine the Great 


Early life 

Claudius Gothicus 
8-270, fabricated ancestry) 

fr. [293]305-306) 

Constantine I Fl Mmatius 
(r 306-337) 



Galla - 


-r Basilina 

Anastasia Bassianus 

Eutropia -;- Nepotiai 

Gallus Caesar 
(r. [351-354) 

lul. Nepotianus 
(r. <350>) 

Licinianus Licinius 
(r. [317-324]) 

Constantine's parents and siblings. Dates in 

square brackets indicate the possession of minor 

titles, like "Caesar". 

The remains of luxurious residence palace of Mediana, 

which was erected by Constantine I near his birth town 

of Naissus. 

Flavius Valerius Constantinus, as he was originally named, was 
born in the city of Naissus, Moesia, in present-day Nis, Serbia, on 
27 February of an uncertain year, probably near 272. His 
father was Flavius Constantius, a native of Moesia (later Dacia 

Ripensis). Constantius was a tolerant and politically skilled 

T331 T341 

man. Constantine probably spent little time with his father. 

Constantius was an officer in the Roman army in 272, part of the 

Emperor Aurelian's imperial bodyguard. Constantius advanced 

through the ranks, earning the governorship of Dalmatia from 

Emperor Diocletian, another of Aurelian's companions from 

Illyricum, in 284 or 285. Constantine's mother was Helena (a 

Bithynian Greek), It is uncertain whether she was legally married 

to Constantius or merely his concubine. 

In July 285, Diocletian declared Maximian, another colleague 
from Illyricum, his co-emperor. Each emperor would have his own 
court, his own military and administrative faculties, and each 
would rule with a separate praetorian prefect as chief 
lieutenant. Maximian ruled in the West, from his capitals at 
Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) or Augusta Treverorum (Trier, 
Germany), while Diocletian ruled in the East, from Nicomedia 
(Izmit, Turkey). The division was merely pragmatic: the Empire 
was called "indivisible" in official panegyric, and both 


emperors could move freely throughout the Empire. In 288, 
Maximian appointed Constantius to serve as his praetorian prefect 

in Gaul. Constantius left Helena to marry Maximian's stepdaughter Theodora in 288 or 289 


Diocletian divided the Empire again in 293, appointing two Caesars (junior emperors) to rule over further 
subdivisions of East and West. Each would be subordinate to their respective Augustus (senior emperor) but would 
act with supreme authority in his assigned lands. This system would later be called the Tetrarchy. Diocletian's first 
appointee for the office of Caesar was Constantius; his second was Galerius, a native of Felix Romuliana. According 
to Lactantius, Galerius was a brutal, animalistic man. Although he shared the paganism of Rome's aristocracy, he 

seemed to them an alien figure, a semi-barbarian. On 1 March, Constantius was promoted to the office of Caesar, 

and dispatched to Gaul to fight the rebels Carausius and Allectus. In spite of meritocratic overtones, the Tetrarchy 

retained vestiges of hereditary privilege, and Constantine became the prime candidate for future appointment as 

Caesar as soon as his father took the position. Constantine went to the court of Diocletian, where he lived as his 

father's heir presumptive 


In the East 

Constantine received a formal education at Diocletian's court, where he learned Latin literature, Greek, and 


philosophy. The cultural environment in Nicomedia was open, fluid and socially mobile, and Constantine could 
mix with intellectuals both pagan and Christian. He may have attended the lectures of Lactantius, a Christian scholar 


of Latin in the city. Because Diocletian did not completely trust Constantius — none of the Tetrarchs fully trusted 
their colleagues — Constantine was held as something of a hostage, a tool to ensure Constantius' best behaviour. 
Constantine was nonetheless a prominent member of the court: he fought for Diocletian and Galerius in Asia, and 
served in a variety of tribunates; he campaigned against barbarians on the Danube in 296, and fought the Persians 

Constantine the Great 


under Diocletian in Syria (297) and under Galerius in Mesopotamia (298—99). By late 305, he had become a 

tribune of the first order, a tribunus ordinis primi. 

Constantine had returned to Nicomedia from the eastern front by the spring of 303, in time to witness the beginnings 

of Diocletian's "Great Persecution", the most severe persecution of Christians in Roman history. In late 302, 

Diocletian and Galerius sent a messenger to the oracle of Apollo at Didyma with an inquiry about Christians. 

Constantine could recall his presence at the palace when the messenger returned, when Diocletian accepted his 

court's demands for universal persecution. On 23 February 303, Diocletian ordered the destruction of Nicomedia's 

new church, condemned its scriptures to the flame, and had its treasures seized. In the months that followed, 

churches and scriptures were destroyed, Christians were deprived of official ranks, and priests were imprisoned. 

It is unlikely that Constantine played any role in the persecution. In 

his later writings he would attempt to present himself as an opponent 

of Diocletian's "sanguinary edicts" against the "worshippers of 


„ [53] 

but nothing indicates that he opposed it effectively at the 

time. Although no contemporary Christian challenged Constantine 
for his inaction during the persecutions, it remained a political liability 
throughout his life 


On 1 May 305, Diocletian, as a result of a debilitating sickness taken in 
the winter of 304—5, announced his resignation. In a parallel ceremony 
in Milan, Maximian did the same. Lactantius states that Galerius 
manipulated the weakened Diocletian into resigning, and forced him to 
accept Galerius' allies in the imperial succession. According to 
Lactantius, the crowd listening to Diocletian's resignation speech 

believed, until the very last moment, that Diocletian would choose 

Constantine and Maxentius (Maximian's son) as his successors. It 

was not to be: Constantius and Galerius were promoted to Augusti, 

while Severus and Maximin were appointed their Caesars respectively. 


Constantine and Maxentius were ignored. 

Some of the ancient sources detail plots that Galerius made on Constantine's life in the months following Diocletian's 
abdication. They assert that Galerius assigned Constantine to lead an advance unit in a cavalry charge through a 
swamp on the middle Danube, made him enter into single combat with a lion, and attempted to kill him in hunts and 
wars. Constantine always emerged victorious: the lion emerged from the contest in a poorer condition than 
Constantine; Constantine returned to Nicomedia from the Danube with a Sarmatian captive to drop at Galerius' 
feet. It is uncertain how much these tales can be trusted. 

Head from a statue of Diocletian, Augustus of the 

In the West 

Constantine recognized the implicit danger in remaining at Galerius' court, where he was held as a virtual hostage. 
His career depended on being rescued by his father in the west. Constantius was quick to intervene. In the late 
spring or early summer of 305, Constantius requested leave for his son, to help him campaign in Britain. After a long 
evening of drinking, Galerius granted the request. Constantine's later propaganda describes how Constantine fled the 
court in the night, before Galerius could change his mind. He rode from post-house to post-house at high speed, 
hamstringing every horse in his wake. By the time Galerius awoke the following morning, Constantine had fled 
too far to be caught. Constantine joined his father in Gaul, at Bononia (Boulogne) before the summer of 305. 

Constantine the Great 


From Bononia they crossed the Channel to Britain and made their way 
to Eboracum (York), capital of the province of Britannia Secunda and 
home to a large military base. Constantine was able to spend a year in 
northern Britain at his father's side, campaigning against the Picts 
beyond Hadrian's Wall in the summer and autumn. Constantius's 
campaign, like that of Septimius Severus before it, probably advanced 
far into the north without achieving great success. Constantius had 
become severely sick over the course of his reign, and died on 25 July 
306 in Eboracum (York). Before dying, he declared his support for 
raising Constantine to the rank of full Augustus. The Alamannic king 
Chrocus, a barbarian taken into service under Constantius, then 
proclaimed Constantine as Augustus. The troops loyal to Constantius' 
memory followed him in acclamation. Gaul and Britain quickly 
accepted his rule; Iberia, which had been in his father's domain for less than a year, rejected it. 

Bronze statue of Constantine I in York, 
near the spot where he was proclaimed 
in 306 



Constantine sent Galerius an official notice of Constantius's death and his own acclamation. Along with the notice, 
he included a portrait of himself in the robes of an Augustus. The portrait was wreathed in bay. He requested 

recognition as heir to his father's throne, and passed off responsibility for his unlawful ascension on his army, 

claiming they had "forced it upon him". Galerius was put into a fury by the message; he almost set the portrait on 

fire. His advisers calmed him, and argued that outright denial of Constantine's claims would mean certain war. 

Galerius was compelled to compromise: he granted Constantine the title "Caesar" rather than "Augustus" (The latter 

office went to Severus instead). Wishing to make it clear that he alone gave Constantine legitimacy, Galerius 

personally sent Constantine the emperor's traditional purple robes. Constantine accepted the decision, knowing 

that it would remove doubts as to his legitimacy. 

Early rule 

The portrait of Gaius Flavius Valerius 

Constantinus on Roman coin, the inscription 

around the portrait is "Constantinus Aug[ustus]". 

Constantine's share of the Empire consisted of Britain, Gaul, and 
Spain. He therefore commanded one of the largest Roman armies, 
stationed along the important Rhine frontier. After his promotion to 
emperor, Constantine remained in Britain, and secured his control in 
the northwestern dioceses. He completed the reconstruction of military 

bases begun under his father's rule, and ordered the repair of the 

region's roadways. He soon left for Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in 


Gaul, the Tetrarchic capital of the northwestern Roman Empire. The 

Franks, after learning of Constantine's acclamation, invaded Gaul 

across the lower Rhine over the winter of 306—7. Constantine drove 

them back beyond the Rhine and captured two of their kings, Ascaric 

and Merogaisus. The kings and their soldiers were fed to the beasts of 

Trier's amphitheater in the adventus (arrival) celebrations that followed 


Constantine the Great 



fit tt? 

Public baths (thermae) built in Trier by 

Constantine. More than 100 metres (unknown 

operator: u'strong' ft) wide by 200 metres 

(unknown operator: u'strong' ft) long, and 

capable of serving several thousands at a time, 

the baths were built to rival those of Rome. 

Constantine began a major expansion of Trier. He strengthened the 
circuit wall around the city with military towers and fortified gates, and 
began building a palace complex in the northeastern part of the city. To 
the south of his palace, he ordered the construction of a large formal 
audience hall, and a massive imperial bathhouse. Constantine 
sponsored many building projects across Gaul during his tenure as 
emperor of the West, especially in Augustodunum (Autun) and Arelate 


(Aries). According to Lactantius, Constantine followed his father in 
following a tolerant policy towards Christianity. Although not yet a 
Christian, he probably judged it a more sensible policy than open 
persecution, and a way to distinguish himself from the "great 
persecutor", Galerius. Constantine decreed a formal end to 

persecution, and returned to Christians all they had lost during the 


Because Constantine was still largely untried and had a hint of illegitimacy about him, he relied on his father's 
reputation in his early propaganda: the earliest panegyrics to Constantine give as much coverage to his father's deeds 
as to those of Constantine himself. Constantine's military skill and building projects soon gave the panegyrist the 
opportunity to comment favorably on the similarities between father and son, and Eusebius remarked that 


Constantine was a "renewal, as it were, in his own person, of his father's life and reign". Constantinian coinage, 
sculpture and oratory also shows a new tendency for disdain towards the "barbarians" beyond the frontiers. After 
Constantine's victory over the Alemanni, he minted a coin issue depicting weeping and begging Alemannic 


tribesmen — "The Alemanni conquered" — beneath the phrase "Romans' rejoicing". There was little sympathy for 
these enemies. As his panegyrist declared: "It is a stupid clemency that spares the conquered foe. 


Maxentius' rebellion 

Following Galerius' recognition of Constantine as emperor, Constantine's portrait was brought to Rome, as was 

customary. Maxentius mocked the portrait's subject as the son of a harlot, and lamented his own powerlessness. 

Maxentius, jealous of Constantine's authority, seized the title of emperor on 28 October 306. Galerius refused to 

recognize him, but failed to unseat him. Galerius sent Severus against Maxentius, but during the campaign, Severus' 

armies, previously under command of Maxentius' father Maximian, defected, and Severus was seized and 

imprisoned. Maximian, brought out of retirement by his son's rebellion, left for Gaul to confer with Constantine 

in late 307. He offered to marry his daughter Fausta to Constantine, and elevate him to Augustan rank. In return, 

Constantine would reaffirm the old family alliance between Maximian and Constantius, and offer support to 

Maxentius' cause in Italy. Constantine accepted, and married Fausta in Trier in late summer 307. Constantine now 

gave Maxentius his meagre support, offering Maxentius political recognition 


Constantine the Great 


Constantine remained aloof from the Italian conflict, however. Over the spring 

and summer of 307, he had left Gaul for Britain to avoid any involvement in the 

Italian turmoil; now, instead of giving Maxentius military aid, he sent his 

troops against Germanic tribes along the Rhine. In 308, he raided the territory of 

the Bructeri, and made a bridge across the Rhine at Colonia Agrippinensium 

(Cologne). In 310, he marched to the northern Rhine and fought the Franks. 

When not campaigning, he toured his lands advertising his benevolence, and 

supporting the economy and the arts. His refusal to participate in the war 

increased his popularity among his people, and strengthened his power base in 

the West 


Maximian returned to Rome in the winter of 307—8, but soon fell 

Dresden bust of Maxentius 

out with his son. In early 309, after a failed attempt to usurp Maxentius' title, 
Maximian returned to Constantine's court 


On 11 November 308, Galerius called a general council at the military city of 
Carnuntum (Petronell-Carnuntum, Austria) to resolve the instability in the western provinces. In attendance were 
Diocletian, briefly returned from retirement, Galerius, and Maximian. Maximian was forced to abdicate again and 
Constantine was again demoted to Caesar. Licinius, one of Galerius' old military companions, was appointed 
Augustus of the west. The new system did not last long: Constantine refused to accept the demotion, and continued 
to style himself as Augustus on his coinage, even as other members of the Tetrarchy referred to him as a Caesar on 
theirs. Maximinus Daia was frustrated that he had been passed over for promotion while the newcomer Licinius had 

been raised to the office of Augustus, and demanded that Galerius promote him. Galerius offered to call both 

Maximinus and Constantine "sons of the Augusti", but neither accepted the new title. By the spring of 310, 

Galerius was referring to both men as Augusti. 


Maximian 's rebellion 

In 310, a dispossessed and power-hungry Maximian rebelled against 
Constantine while Constantine was away campaigning against the 
Franks. Maximian had been sent south to Aries with a contingent of 
Constantine's army, in preparation for any attacks by Maxentius in 
southern Gaul. He announced that Constantine was dead, and took up 
the imperial purple. In spite of a large donative pledge to any who 
would support him as emperor, most of Constantine's army remained 
loyal to their emperor, and Maximian was soon compelled to leave. 
Constantine soon heard of the rebellion, abandoned his campaign 
against the Franks, and marched his army up the Rhine. At 

Cabillunum (Chalon-sur-Saone), he moved his troops onto waiting 
boats to row down the slow waters of the Saone to the quicker waters 
of the Rhone. He disembarked at Lugdunum (Lyon). Maximian 

fled to Massilia (Marseille), a town better able to withstand a long 
siege than Aries. It made little difference, however, as loyal citizens 
opened the rear gates to Constantine. Maximian was captured and 
reproved for his crimes. Constantine granted some clemency, but 
strongly encouraged his suicide. In July 310, Maximian hanged 

A gold multiple of "Unconquered Constantine" 

with Sol Invictus, struck in 313. The use of Sol's 

image appealed to both the educated citizens of 

Gaul, who would recognize in it Apollo's 

patronage of Augustus and the arts; and to 

Christians, who found solar monotheism less 

objectionable than the traditional pagan 


In spite of the earlier rupture in their relations, Maxentius was eager to present himself as his father's devoted son 
He began minting coins with his father's deified image, proclaiming his desire to avenge 

after his death 


Constantine the Great 277 

Maximian's death. Constantine initially presented the suicide as an unfortunate family tragedy. By 31 1, however, 
he was spreading another version. According to this, after Constantine had pardoned him, Maximian planned to 
murder Constantine in his sleep. Fausta learned of the plot and warned Constantine, who put a eunuch in his own 
place in bed. Maximian was apprehended when he killed the eunuch and was offered suicide, which he accepted. 
Along with using propaganda, Constantine instituted a damnatio memoriae on Maximian, destroying all inscriptions 
referring to him and eliminating any public work bearing his image. 

The death of Maximian required a shift in Constantine's public image. He could no longer rely on his connection to 
the elder emperor Maximian, and needed a new source of legitimacy. In a speech delivered in Gaul on 25 July 
310, the anonymous orator reveals a previously unknown dynastic connection to Claudius II, a third-century emperor 
famed for defeating the Goths and restoring order to the empire. Breaking away from tetrarchic models, the speech 
emphasizes Constantine's ancestral prerogative to rule, rather than principles of imperial equality. The new ideology 
expressed in the speech made Galerius and Maximian irrelevant to Constantine's right to rule. Indeed, the orator 
emphasizes ancestry to the exclusion of all other factors: "No chance agreement of men, nor some unexpected 
consequence of favor, made you emperor," the orator declares to Constantine. 

The oration also moves away from the religious ideology of the Tetrarchy, with its focus on twin dynasties of Jupiter 
and Hercules. Instead, the orator proclaims that Constantine experienced a divine vision of Apollo and Victory 
granting him laurel wreaths of health and a long reign. In the likeness of Apollo Constantine recognized himself as 
the saving figure to whom would be granted "rule of the whole world", as the poet Virgil had once foretold. 
The oration's religious shift is paralleled by a similar shift in Constantine's coinage. In his early reign, the coinage of 
Constantine advertised Mars as his patron. From 310 on, Mars was replaced by Sol Invictus, a god conventionally 
identified with Apollo. There is little reason to believe that either the dynastic connection or the divine vision are 
anything other than fiction, but their proclamation strengthened Constantine's claims to legitimacy and increased his 
popularity among the citizens of Gaul. 

Civil wars 

War against Maxentius 

By the middle of 310, Galerius had become too ill to involve himself in imperial politics. His final act survives: 
a letter to the provincials posted in Nicomedia on 30 April 311, proclaiming an end to the persecutions, and the 
resumption of religious toleration. He died soon after the edict's proclamation, destroying what little 

remained of the tetrarchy. Maximin mobilized against Licinius, and seized Asia Minor. A hasty peace was 
signed on a boat in the middle of the Bosphorus. While Constantine toured Britain and Gaul, Maxentius prepared 
for war. He fortified northern Italy, and strengthened his support in the Christian community by allowing it to 
elect a new Bishop of Rome, Eusebius. 

Maxentius' rule was nevertheless insecure. His early support dissolved in the wake of heightened tax rates and 

depressed trade; riots broke out in Rome and Carthage; and Domitius Alexander was able to briefly usurp his 

ri2ii ri22i 

authority in Africa. By 312, he was a man barely tolerated, not one actively supported, even among 

Christian Italians. In the summer of 311, Maxentius mobilized against Constantine while Licinius was occupied 

with affairs in the East. He declared war on Constantine, vowing to avenge his father's "murder". To prevent 

Maxentius from forming an alliance against him with Licinius, Constantine forged his own alliance with 

Licinius over the winter of 311—12, and offered him his sister Constantia in marriage. Maximin considered 

Constantine's arrangement with Licinius an affront to his authority. In response, he sent ambassadors to Rome, 

offering political recognition to Maxentius in exchange for a military support. Maxentius accepted. According to 

Eusebius, inter-regional travel became impossible, and there was military buildup everywhere. There was "not a 

place where people were not expecting the onset of hostilities every day". 

Constantine the Great 278 

n ?8i 
Constantine's advisers and generals cautioned against preemptive attack on Maxentius; even his soothsayers 


recommended against it, stating that the sacrifices had produced unfavorable omens. Constantine, with a spirit 

that left a deep impression on his followers, inspiring some to believe that he had some form of supernatural 

ri3oi ri3ii ri32i 

guidance, ignored all these cautions. Early in the spring of 312, " Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps 


with a quarter of his army, a force numbering about 40,000. The first town his army encountered was Segusium 
(Susa, Italy), a heavily fortified town that shut its gates to him. Constantine ordered his men to set fire to its gates 
and scale its walls. He took the town quickly. Constantine ordered his troops not to loot the town, and advanced with 

ri 32i 

them into northern Italy. 

At the approach to the west of the important city of Augusta Taurinorum (Turin, Italy), Constantine met a large force 
of heavily armed Maxentian cavalry. " In the ensuing battle Constantine's army encircled Maxentius' cavalry, 
flanked them with his own cavalry, and dismounted them with blows from his soldiers' iron-tipped clubs. 
Constantine's armies emerged victorious. Turin refused to give refuge to Maxentius' retreating forces, opening its 
gates to Constantine instead. " Other cities of the north Italian plain sent Constantine embassies of congratulation 
for his victory. He moved on to Milan, where he was met with open gates and jubilant rejoicing. Constantine rested 

his army in Milan until mid-summer 312, when he moved on to Brixia (Brescia). 

n 38i 
Brescia's army was easily dispersed, " and Constantine quickly advanced to Verona, where a large Maxentian 

force was camped. " Ruricius Pompeianus, general of the Veronese forces and Maxentius' praetorian prefect, 

was in a strong defensive position, since the town was surrounded on three sides by the Adige. Constantine sent a 

small force north of the town in an attempt to cross the river unnoticed. Ruricius sent a large detachment to counter 

Constantine's expeditionary force, but was defeated. Constantine's forces successfully surrounded the town and laid 

siege. Ruricius gave Constantine the slip and returned with a larger force to oppose Constantine. Constantine 

refused to let up on the siege, and sent only a small force to oppose him. In the desperately fought encounter that 

followed, Ruricius was killed and his army destroyed. Verona surrendered soon afterwards, followed by 

Aquileia, Mutina (Modena), and Ravenna. The road to Rome was now wide open to Constantine. 

Maxentius prepared for the same type of war he had waged against 
Severus and Galerius: he sat in Rome and prepared for a siege. He 

still controlled Rome's praetorian guards, was well-stocked with 
African grain, and was surrounded on all sides by the seemingly 
impregnable Aurelian Walls. He ordered all bridges across the Tiber 
cut, reportedly on the counsel of the gods, and left the rest of The Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio) over the 

central Italy undefended; Constantine secured that region's support Tiber, north of Rome, where Constantine and 

Maxentius fought in the Battle of the Milvian 

without challenge. Constantine progressed slowly along the 

Via Flaminia, allowing the weakness of Maxentius to draw his 
regime further into turmoil. Maxentius' support continued to 

weaken: at chariot races on 27 October, the crowd openly taunted Maxentius, shouting that Constantine was 
invincible. Maxentius, no longer certain that he would emerge from a siege victorious, built a temporary boat 
bridge across the Tiber in preparation for a field battle against Constantine. On 28 October 312, the sixth 

anniversary of his reign, he approached the keepers of the Sibylline Books for guidance. The keepers prophesied 
that, on that very day, "the enemy of the Romans" would die. Maxentius advanced north to meet Constantine in 
battle. [154] 

Maxentius organized his forces — still twice the size of Constantine's — in long lines facing the battle plain, with their 
backs to the river. Constantine's army arrived at the field bearing unfamiliar symbols on either its standards or its 
soldiers' shields. According to Lactantius, Constantine was visited by a dream the night before the battle, 

wherein he was advised "to mark the heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers. means of a slanted letter 
X with the top of its head bent round, he marked Christ on their shields." Eusebius describes another version, 
where, while marching at midday, "he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the 

Constantine the Great 


light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Winces or "In this sign, you will conquer"; in Eusebius's 
account, Constantine had a dream the following night, in which Christ appeared with the same heavenly sign, and 
told him to make a standard, the labarum, for his army in that form. Eusebius is vague about when and where 
these events took place, but it enters his narrative before the war against Maxentius begins. Eusebius 

describes the sign as Chi (X) traversed by Rho (P): £ , a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling 
of the word Christos or Christ. The Eusebian description of the vision has been explained as a type of solar halo 
called a "sun dog", a meteorological phenomenon which can produce similar effects. In 315 a medallion was 
issued at Ticinum showing Constantine wearing a helmet emblazoned with the Chi Rho, and coins issued at 
Siscia in 317/18 repeat the image. The figure was otherwise rare, however, and is uncommon in imperial 

iconography and propaganda before the 320s. 

Constantine deployed his own forces along the whole length of 
Maxentius' line. He ordered his cavalry to charge, and they broke 
Maxentius' cavalry. He then sent his infantry against Maxentius' 
infantry, pushing many into the Tiber where they were slaughtered and 
drowned. The battle was brief: Maxentius' troops were broken 
before the first charge. Maxentius' horse guards and praetorians 
initially held their position, but broke under the force of a 
Constantinian cavalry charge; they also broke ranks and fled to the 
river. Maxentius rode with them, and attempted to cross the bridge of 
boats, but he was pushed by the mass of his fleeing soldiers into the 


Tiber, and drowned 

In Rome 


The Battle of the Milvian Bridge by Giulio 

Constantine entered Rome on 29 October. He staged a grand 

adventus in the city, and was met with popular jubilation. 
Maxentius' body was fished out of the Tiber and decapitated. His head 


was paraded through the streets for all to see. After the ceremonies, 

Maxentius' disembodied head was sent to Carthage; at this Carthage would offer no further resistance. Unlike his 

predecessors, Constantine neglected to make the trip to the Capitoline Hill and perform customary sacrifices at the 

Temple of Jupiter. He did, however, choose to honor the Senatorial Curia with a visit, where he promised to 

restore its ancestral privileges and give it a secure role in his reformed government: there would be no revenge 

against Maxentius' supporters. In response, the Senate decreed him "title of the first name", which meant his 

ri77i ri7Ri 

name would be listed first in all official documents, and acclaimed him as "the greatest Augustus". He issued 

decrees returning property lost under Maxentius, recalling political exiles, and releasing Maxentius' imprisoned 

, [179] 

An extensive propaganda campaign followed, during which Maxentius' image was systematically purged from all 
public places. Maxentius was written up as a "tyrant", and set against an idealized image of the "liberator", 
Constantine. Eusebius, in his later works, is the best representative of this strand of Constantinian propaganda. 
Maxentius' rescripts were declared invalid, and the honors Maxentius had granted to leaders of the Senate were 



Constantine also attempted to remove Maxentius' influence on Rome's urban landscape. All 

structures built by Maxentius were re-dedicated to Constantine, including the Temple of Romulus and the Basilica of 

n S2i 
Maxentius. At the focal point of the basilica, a stone statue of Constantine holding the Christian labarum in its 

hand was erected. Its inscription bore the message the statue had already made clear: By this sign Constantine had 

freed Rome from the yoke of the tyrant. 

Constantine the Great 


Where he did not overwrite Maxentius' achievements, Constantine 
upstaged them: the Circus Maximus was redeveloped so that its total 
seating capacity was twenty-five times larger than that of Maxentius' 
racing complex on the Via Appia. Maxentius' strongest supporters 
in the military were neutralized when the Praetorian Guard and 
Imperial Horse Guard (equites singulares) were disbanded. Their 
tombstones were ground up and put to use in a basilica on the Via 



On 9 November 312, barely two weeks after 
Constantine captured the city, the former base of the Imperial Horse 

ri oo] 

Guard was chosen for redevelopment into the Lateran Basilica. 
The Legio II Parthica was removed from Alba (Albano Laziale), 
and the remainder of Maxentius' armies were sent to do frontier duty 


on the Rhine 


Colossal head of Constantine, from a seated 

statue: a youthful, classicising, other-worldly 

official image (Metropolitan Museum of 

Art) [lg4] 

Wars against Licinius 

In the following years, Constantine gradually consolidated his military 
superiority over his rivals in the crumbling Tetrarchy. In 313, he met 
Licinius in Milan to secure their alliance by the marriage of Licinius 
and Constantine's half-sister Constantia. During this meeting, the 
emperors agreed on the so-called Edict of Milan, officially 

granting full tolerance to Christianity and all religions in the Empire. The document had special benefits for 
Christians, legalizing their religion and granting them restoration for all property seized during Diocletian's 

persecution. It repudiates past methods of religious coercion and used only general terms to refer to the divine sphere 

— "Divinity" and "Supreme Divinity", summa divinitas. The conference was cut short, however, when news 

reached Licinius that his rival Maximin had crossed the Bosporus and invaded European territory. Licinius departed 

and eventually defeated Maximin, gaining control over the entire eastern half of the Roman Empire. Relations 

between the two remaining emperors deteriorated, as Constantine suffered an assassination attempt at the hands of a 

character that Licinius wanted elevated to the rank of Caesar; in either 314 or 316 the two Augusti fought against 

one another at the Battle of Cibalae, with Constantine being victorious. They clashed again at the Battle of Mardia in 

317, and agreed to a settlement in which Constantine's sons Crispus and Constantine II, and Licinius' son Licinianus 

were made caesars. After this arrangement, Constantine ruled the dioceses of Pannonia and Macedonia and took 

residence at Sirmium, from whence he could wage war on the Goths and Sarmatians in 322, and on the Goths in 



In the year 320, Licinius reneged on the religious freedom promised by the Edict of Milan in 313 and began to 
oppress Christians anew, generally without bloodshed, but resorting to confiscations and sacking of Christian 
office-holders. That became a challenge to Constantine in the West, climaxing in the great civil war of 324. 
Licinius, aided by Goth mercenaries, represented the past and the ancient Pagan faiths. Constantine and his Franks 
marched under the standard of the labarum, and both sides saw the battle in religious terms. Outnumbered, but fired 
by their zeal, Constantine's army emerged victorious in the Battle of Adrianople. Licinius fled across the Bosphorus 

and appointed Martius Martinianus, the commander of his bodyguard, as Caesar, but Constantine next won the Battle 

of the Hellespont, and finally the Battle of Chrysopolis on 18 September 324. Licinius and Martinianus 

surrendered to Constantine at Nicomedia on the promise their lives would be spared: they were sent to live as private 

citizens in Thessalonica and Cappadocia respectively, but in 325 Constantine accused Licinius of plotting against 

him and had them both arrested and hanged; Licinius's son (the son of Constantine's half-sister) was also 

[1981 [199] 

eradicated. Thus Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. 

Constantine the Great 


Later rule 

Foundation of Constantinople 

Coin struck by Constantine I to commemorate the 
founding of Constantinople 

Licinius' defeat came to represent the defeat of a rival center of Pagan 
and Greek-speaking political activity in the East, as opposed to the 
Christian and Latin-speaking Rome, and it was proposed that a new 
Eastern capital should represent the integration of the East into the 
Roman Empire as a whole, as a center of learning, prosperity, and 
cultural preservation for the whole of the Eastern Roman Empire . 
Among the various locations proposed to this alternate capital, 
Constantine appears to have toyed earlier with Serdica (present-day 
Sofia), as he was reported saying that "Serdica is my Rome". 


Sirmium and Thessalonica were also considered. Eventually, however, Constantine decided to work on the 
Greek city of Byzantium, which offered the advantage of having already been extensively rebuilt on Roman patterns 
of urbanism, during the preceding century, by Septimius Severus and Caracalla, who had already acknowledged its 


strategical importance. The city was then renamed Constantinopolis ("Constantine's City" or Constantinople in 
English), and issued special commemorative coins in 330 to honor the event. The new city was protected by the 
relics of the True Cross, the Rod of Moses and other holy relics, though a cameo now at the Hermitage Museum also 
represented Constantine crowned by the tyche of the new city. The figures of old gods were either replaced or 
assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the 
site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a Divine vision led Constantine to this spot, 
and an angel no one else could see, led him on a circuit of the new walls. The capital would often be compared to the 
'old' Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, the "New Rome of Constantinople". 

Religious policy 

Further information: Constantine I and Christianity and Constantine the Great and Judaism 

Constantine is perhaps best known for being the first Christian Roman 
emperor; his reign was certainly a turning point for the Church. In 
February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan, where they 
developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should 
be allowed to follow the faith without oppression. This removed 
penalties for professing Christianity (under which many had been 
martyred in persecutions of Christians) and returned confiscated 
Church property. The edict protected from religious persecution not 
only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship 
whichever deity they chose. A similar edict had been issued in 311 by 
Galerius, then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy; Galerius' edict granted 
Christians the right to practice their religion but did not restore any 


property to them. The Edict of Milan included several clauses 

which stated that all confiscated churches would be returned as well as 
other provisions for previously persecuted Christians. 

Constantine the Great, mosaic in Hagia Sophia, 

Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena's 
Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the 


course of his life. Constantine would retain the title of pontif ex maximus until his death, a title emperors bore as 
heads of the pagan priesthood, as would his Christian successors on to Gratian (r. 375—83). According to Christian 

Constantine the Great 


writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear 


that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, 
Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from 
certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic 



His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter's 

Constantine did not patronize Christianity alone, however. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge 
(312), a triumphal arch — the Arch of Constantine — was built (315) to celebrate it; the arch is decorated with images 
of Victoria and sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, and Hercules, but contains no Christian symbolism. 

In 321, Constantine instructed that Christians and non-Christians should be united in observing the venerable day of 
the sun, referencing the esoteric eastern sun-worship which Aurelian had helped introduce, and his coinage still 
carried the symbols of the sun cult until 324. Even after the pagan gods had disappeared from the coinage, Christian 
symbols appeared only as Constantine's personal attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, but 
never on the coin itself. Even when Constantine dedicated the new capital of Constantinople, which became the 
seat of Byzantine Christianity for a millennium, he did so wearing the Apollonian sun-rayed Diadem. 

The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the 
emperor as having some influence within the religious discussions 
going on within the Catholic Church of that time, e.g., the dispute over 
Arianism. Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability 
that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring 
where possible to establish an orthodoxy. The emperor saw it as 
his duty to ensure that God was properly worshipped in his empire, and 

that what proper worship consisted would be determined by the 

Church. From 313—316 bishops in North Africa struggled with 

non-orthodox bishops who had been ordained by Donatus in opposition 

to Caecilian, the orthodox bishop. The African bishops could not come 

to terms and the Donatists asked Constantine to act as a judge in the 

dispute. Three regional Church councils and another trial before 

Constantine all ruled against Donatus and the Donatism movement in 

North Africa. In 317 Constantine's patience had been exhausted — he 

issued an edict to confiscate Donatist church property and to send 

Donatist clergy into exile. More significantly, in 325 he summoned 

the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless 

the Council of Jerusalem is so classified). The Council of Nicaea is most known for its dealing with Arianism, which 

from then on became officially regarded as a heresy, and for instituting the Nicene Creed. Constantine also enforced 

the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord's Supper on the day before the Jewish 

Passover (14 Nisan) (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy). This marked a definite break of Christianity 

from the Judaic tradition. From then on the Roman Julian Calendar, a solar calendar, was given precedence over the 

lunar Hebrew Calendar among the Christian churches of the Roman Empire 

Constantine burning Arian books 


Constantine made new laws regarding the Jews. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their 

Constantine the Great 283 

Administrative reforms 

Beginning in the mid-3rd century the emperors began to favor members of the equestrian order over senators, who 
had had a monopoly on the most important offices of state. Senators were stripped of the command of legions and 
most provincial governorships (as it was felt that they lacked the specialized military upbringing needed in an age of 
acute defense needs ), such posts being given to equestrians by Diocletian and his colleagues — following a 
practice enforced piecemeal by their predecessors. The emperors however, still needed the talents and the help of the 
very rich, who were relied on to maintain social order and cohesion by means of a web of powerful influence and 
contacts at all levels. Exclusion of the old senatorial aristocracy threatened this arrangement. 

In 326, Constantine reversed this pro-equestrian trend, raising many administrative positions to senatorial rank and 
thus opening these offices to the old aristocracy, and at the same time elevating the rank of already existing 

equestrians office-holders to senator, eventually wiping out the equestrian order — at least as a bureaucratic 

rank — in the process. One could become a senator, either by being elected praetor or (in most cases) by fulfilling 

[21 81 

a function of senatorial rank: from then on, holding of actual power and social status were melded together into a 
joint imperial hierarchy. At the same time, Constantine gained with this the support of the old nobility, as the 
Senate was allowed itself to elect praetors and quaestors, in place of the usual practice of the emperors directly 
creating new magistrates {adlectio). In one inscription in honor of city prefect (336—37) Ceionius Rufus Albinus, it 


was written that Constantine had restored the Senate "the auctoritas it had lost at Caesar's time". 

The Senate as a body remained devoid of any significant power; nevertheless, the senators, who had been 

marginalized as potential holders of imperial functions during the 3rd century, could now dispute such positions 

alongside more upstart bureaucrats. Some modern historians see in those administrative reforms an attempt by 

Constantine at reintegrating the senatorial order into the imperial administrative elite to counter the possibility of 


alienating pagan senators from a Christianized imperial rule; however, such an interpretation remains 

conjectural, given the fact that we do not have the precise numbers about pre-Constantine conversions to Christianity 
in the old senatorial milieu — some historians suggesting that early conversions among the old aristocracy were more 


numerous than previously supposed. 

Constantine's reforms had to do only with the civilian administration: the military chiefs, who since the Crisis of the 


Third Century had risen from the ranks, remained outside the senate, in which they were included only by 
Constantine's children. 

Monetary reforms 

After the runaway inflation of the third century, associated with the production of fiat money to pay for public 
expenses, Diocletian had tried unsuccessfully to reestablish trustworthy minting of silver and billon coins. The 
failure of the various Diocletianic attempts at the restoration of a functioning silver coin resided in the fact that the 
silver currency was overvalued in terms of its actual metal content, and therefore could only circulate at much 
discounted rates. Minting of the Diocletianic "pure" silver argenteus ceased, therefore, soon after 305, while the 
billion currency continued to be used until the 360s. From then on, Constantine forsook any attempts at restoring the 
silver currency, preferring instead to concentrate on minting large quantities of good standard gold pieces — the 
solidus, 72 of which made a pound of gold. Billion minting being stopped, dejure, in 367, a new and highly debased 
silver piece was eventually continued by various denominations of bronze coins, the most important being the 
centenionalis. These bronze pieces continued to be devalued, assuring the possibility of keeping fiduciary 
minting alongside a gold standard. The anonymous author of the possibly contemporary treatise on military affairs 
De Rebus Bellicis held that, as a consequence of this monetary policy, the rift between classes widened: the rich 
benefited from the stability in purchasing power of the gold piece, while the poor had to cope with ever-degrading 


bronze pieces. Later emperors like Julian the Apostate tried to present themselves as advocates of the humiles by 


insisting on trustworthy mintings of the bronze currency. 

Constantine the Great 284 

Constantine's monetary policy were closely associated with his religious ones, in that increased minting was 
associated with measures of confiscation — taken since 331 and closed in 336 — of all gold, silver and bronze statues 
from pagan temples, who were declared as imperial property and, as such, as monetary assets. Two imperial 
commissioners for each province had the task of getting hold of the statues and having them melded for immediate 
minting — with the exception of a number of bronze statues who were used as public monuments for the 


beautification of the new capital in Constantinople 

Executions of Crispus and Fausta 

On some date between 15 May and 17 June 326, Constantine had his eldest son Crispus, by Minervina, seized and 

put to death by "cold poison" at Pola (Pula, Croatia). In July, Constantine had his wife, the Empress Fausta, 

killed at the behest of his mother, Helena. Fausta was left to die in an over-heated bath. Their names were wiped 

from the face of many inscriptions, references to their lives in the literary record were erased, and the memory of 

both was condemned. Eusebius, for example, edited praise of Crispus out of later copies of his Historia 


Ecclesiastica, and his Vita Constantini contains no mention of Fausta or Crispus at all. Few ancient sources are 
willing to discuss possible motives for the events; those few that do offer unconvincing rationales, are of later 
provenance, and are generally unreliable. At the time of the executions, it was commonly believed that the Empress 
Fausta was either in an illicit relationship with Crispus, or was spreading rumors to that effect. A popular myth arose, 
modified to allude to Hippolytus— Phaedra legend, with the suggestion that Constantine killed Crispus and Fausta for 


their immoralities. One source, the largely fictional Passion of Artemius, probably penned in the eighth century 

by John of Damascus, makes the legendary connection explicit. As an interpretation of the executions, the myth 

rests on only "the slimmest of evidence": sources that allude to the relationship between Crispus and Fausta are late 

and unreliable, and the modern suggestion that Constantine's "godly" edicts of 326 and the irregularities of Crispus 

are somehow connected rests on no evidence at all. 

Although Constantine created his apparent heirs "Caesars", following a pattern established by Diocletian, he gave his 

creations an hereditary character, alien to the tetrarchic system: Constantine's Caesars were to be kept in the hope of 

ascending to Empire, and entirely subordinated to their Augustus, as long as he was alive. Therefore, an 

alternative explanation for the execution of Crispus was, perhaps, Constantine's desire to keep a firm grip on his 

prospective heirs, this — and Fausta's desire for having her sons inheriting instead of their stepbrother — being reason 

enough for killing Crispus; the subsequent execution of Fausta, however, was probably meant as a reminder to her 

children that Constantine would not hesitate in "killing his own relatives when he felt this was necessary". 

Constantine the Great 


Later campaigns 

Constantine considered Constantinople as 

his capital and permanent residence. He 

frnfc lived there for a good portion of his later 

life. He rebuilt Trajan's bridge across the 
Danube, in hopes of reconquering Dacia, a 
province that had been abandoned under 
Aurelian. In the late winter of 332, 
Constantine campaigned with the 
Sarmatians against the Goths. The weather 
and a lack of food did the Goths in; nearly 
one hundred thousand died before they 
337 AD submitted to Roman lordship. In 334, after 

Sarmatian commoners had overthrown their 
leaders, Constantine led a campaign against 

the tribe. He won a victory in the war and 

extended his control over the region, as remains of camps and fortifications in the region indicate. Constantine 

resettled some Sarmatian exiles as farmers in Illyrian and Roman districts, and conscripted the rest into the army. 


Constantine took the title Dacicus maximus in 336. 

The Roman Empire in 337, showing Constantine's conquests in Dacia across the 
lower Danube (medium purple) and other Roman dependencies (light purple). 

In the last years of his life Constantine made plans for a campaign against Persia. In a letter written to the king of 
Persia, Shapur, Constantine had asserted his patronage over Persia's Christian subjects and urged Shapur to treat 


them well. " The letter is undatable. In response to border raids, Constantine sent Constantius to guard the eastern 
frontier in 335. In 336, prince Narseh invaded Armenia (a Christian kingdom since 301) and installed a Persian client 
on the throne. Constantine then resolved to campaign against Persia himself. He treated the war as a Christian 
crusade, calling for bishops to accompany the army and commissioning a tent in the shape of a church to follow him 
everywhere. Constantine planned to be baptized in the Jordan River before crossing into Persia. Persian diplomats 
came to Constantinople over the winter of 336—7, seeking peace, but Constantine turned them away. The campaign 
was called off however, when Constantine fell sick in the spring of 337. 

Sickness and death 

Flavius Constantius _ 
(r. 305-306) 

Constantine I 

3 H (r. 306-337) 1 I I 

Crispus Constantine II Constans 

(r. 337-340) (r. 337-350) 

,. ,. Constantius II 

Faustina^ (r .3 37 _ 361) 

Gratian _ , He 

— Constantia 

(r. 360-363) 

Constantine had known death would soon come. Within the Church of 
the Holy Apostles, Constantine had secretly prepared a final 


resting-place for himself. It came sooner than he had expected. 

Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. 
He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother's city of 
Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of Izmit. 
There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he 
prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, 

he became a catechumen, and attempted a return to Constantinople, 

making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be 

baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, 

promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, "performed 

The Constantinian dynasty down to Gratian (r. 

the sacred ceremonies according to custom 

, [244] 
. [245] 

He chose the Arianizing bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, bishop of 

the city where he lay dying, as his baptizer. In postponing his baptism, he followed one custom at the time which 

Constantine the Great 



It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so 


Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called 


postponed baptism until after infancy 

as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible 

Achyron, on the last day of the fifty-day festival of Pentecost directly following Easter, on 22 May 337 

Although Constantine's death follows the conclusion of the Persian 
campaign in Eusebius's account, most other sources report his death as 
occurring in its middle. Emperor Julian, writing in the mid-350s, 
observes that the Sassanians escaped punishment for their ill-deeds, 
because Constantine died "in the middle of his preparations for 


war". Similar accounts are given in the Origo Constantini, an 

anonymous document composed while Constantine was still living, 
and which has Constantine dying in Nicomedia; the Historiae 

abbreviatae of Sextus Aurelius Victor, written in 361, which has 
Constantine dying at an estate near Nicomedia called Achyrona while 
marching against the Persians; and the Breviarium of Eutropius, a handbook compiled in 369 for the Emperor 


Valens, which has Constantine dying in a nameless state villa in Nicomedia. From these and other accounts, 
some have concluded that Eusebius's Vita was edited to defend Constantine's reputation against what Eusebius saw 
as a less congenial version of the campaign 

The Baptism of Constantine, as imagined by 
students of Raphael 


Following his death, his body was transferred to Constantinople and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles 
there. He was succeeded by his three sons born of Fausta, Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans. A 

number of relatives were killed by followers of Constantius, notably Constantine's nephews Dalmatius (who held the 
rank of Caesar) and Hannibalianus, presumably to eliminate possible contenders to an already complicated 
succession. He also had two daughters, Constantina and Helena, wife of Emperor Julian. 


Although he earned his honorific of "The Great" ("Meycxi;") from 
Christian historians long after he had died, it is thought that he could 
have claimed the title on his military achievements and victories alone. 
Besides reuniting the Empire under one emperor, Constantine won 
major victories over the Franks and Alamanni in 306—8, the Franks 
again in 313—14, the Visigoths in 332 and the Sarmatians in 334. By 
336, Constantine had reoccupied most of the long-lost province of 
Dacia, which Aurelian had been forced to abandon in 27 1 . At the time 
of his death, he was planning a great expedition to end raids on the 

eastern provinces from the Persian Empire 


In the cultural sphere Constantine contributed to the revival of the 
clean shaven face fashion of the Roman emperors from Augustus to 
Trajan, which was originally introduced among the Romans by Scipio 
Africanus. This new Roman imperial fashion lasted until the reign of 
Phocas. [257][258] 

Bronze head of Constantine, from a colossal 
statue (4th century). 

The Byzantine Empire considered Constantine its founder and the Holy 
Roman Empire reckoned him among the venerable figures of its 
tradition. In the later Byzantine state, it had become a great honor for an emperor to be hailed as a "new 


Constantine". Ten emperors, including the last emperor of Byzantium, carried the name. Monumental 

Constantinian forms were used at the court of Charlemagne to suggest that he was Constantine's successor and equal. 
Constantine acquired a mythic role as a warrior against "heathens". The motif of the Romanesque equestrian, the 

Constantine the Great 287 

mounted figure in the posture of a triumphant Roman emperor, became a visual metaphor in statuary in praise of 
local benefactors. The name "Constantine" itself enjoyed renewed popularity in western France in the eleventh and 
twelfth centuries. Most Eastern Christian churches consider Constantine a saint (AyLOQ KcovotavtLvoi;, Saint 
Constantine). In the Byzantine Church he was called isapostolos {\aanoaxo~koc, KcovotavtLvoq) — an equal of 
the Apostles. Nis airport is named Constantine the Great in honor of his birth in Naissus. 


During his life and those of his sons, Constantine was presented as a paragon of virtue. Even pagans like Praxagoras 
of Athens and Libanius showered him with praise. When the last of his sons died in 361, however, his nephew Julian 
the Apostate wrote the satire Symposium, or the Saturnalia, which denigrated Constantine, calling him inferior to the 
great pagan emperors, and given over to luxury and greed. Following Julian, Eunapius began — and Zosimus 
continued — a historiographic tradition that blamed Constantine for weakening the Empire through his indulgence to 
the Christians. 

In medieval times, when the Roman Catholic Church was dominant, Catholic historians presented Constantine as an 
ideal ruler, the standard against which any king or emperor could be measured. The Renaissance rediscovery of 
anti-Constantinian sources prompted a re-evaluation of Constantine's career. The German humanist Johann 
Lowenklau, discoverer of Zosimus' writings, published a Latin translation thereof in 1576. In its preface, he argued 
that Zosimus' picture of Constantine was superior to that offered by Eusebius and the Church historians, and damned 
Constantine as a tyrant. Cardinal Caesar Baronius, a man of the Counter-Reformation, criticized Zosimus, 

favoring Eusebius' account of the Constantinian era. Baronius' Life of Constantine (1588) presents Constantine as the 
model of a Christian prince. For his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776—89), Edward 
Gibbon, aiming to unite the two extremes of Constantinian scholarship, offered a portrait of Constantine built on the 
contrasted narratives of Eusebius and Zosimus. In a form that parallels his account of the empire's decline, 
Gibbon presents a noble war hero corrupted by Christian influences, who transforms into an Oriental despot in his 
old age: "a hero. ..degenerating into a cruel and dissolute monarch". 

Modern interpretations of Constantine's rule begin with Jacob Burckhardt's The Age of Constantine the Great (1853, 
rev. 1880). Burckhardt's Constantine is a scheming secularist, a politician who manipulates all parties in a quest to 


secure his own power. Henri Gregoire, writing in the 1930s, followed Burckhardt's evaluation of Constantine. 
For Gregoire, Constantine developed an interest in Christianity only after witnessing its political usefulness. 
Gregoire was skeptical of the authenticity of Eusebius' Vita, and postulated a pseudo-Eusebius to assume 
responsibility for the vision and conversion narratives of that work. Otto Seeck, in Geschichte des Untergangs 
der antiken Welt (1920—23), and Andre Piganiol, in L'empereur Constantin (1932), wrote against this historiographic 
tradition. Seeck presented Constantine as a sincere war hero, whose ambiguities were the product of his own naive 

[272] T2731 

inconsistency. Piganiol's Constantine is a philosophical monotheist, a child of his era's religious syncretism. 
Related histories by A.H.M. Jones {Constantine and the Conversion of Europe (1949)) and Ramsay MacMullen 
{Constantine (1969)) gave portraits of a less visionary, and more impulsive, Constantine. 

These later accounts were more willing to present Constantine as a genuine convert to Christianity. Beginning with 
Norman H. Baynes' Constantine the Great and the Christian Church (1929) and reinforced by Andreas Alfoldi's The 
Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome (1948), a historiographic tradition developed which presented 
Constantine as a committed Christian. T. D. Barnes's seminal Constantine and Eusebius (1981) represents the 

culmination of this trend. Barnes' Constantine experienced a radical conversion, which drove him on a personal 

crusade to convert his empire. Charles Matson Odahl's recent Constantine and the Christian Empire (2004) takes 

much the same tack. In spite of Barnes' work, arguments over the strength and depth of Constantine's religious 


conversion continue. Certain themes in this school reached new extremes in T.G Elliott's The Christianity of 

Constantine the Great (1996), which presented Constantine as a committed Christian from early childhood. A 

similar view of Constantine is held in Paul Veyne's recent (2007) work, Quand notre monde est devenu chretien, 

Constantine the Great 288 

which does not speculate on the origins of Constantine's Christian motivation, but presents him, in his role as 
Emperor, as a religious revolutionary who fervently believed himself meant "to play a providential role in the 


millenary economy of the salvation of humanity". 

Donation of Constantine 

Latin Rite Catholics considered it inappropriate that Constantine was baptized only on his death-bed and by an 
unorthodox bishop, as it undermined the authority of the Papacy. Hence, by the early fourth century, a legend had 
emerged that Pope Sylvester I (314—35) had cured the pagan emperor from leprosy. According to this legend, 


Constantine was soon baptized, and began the construction of a church in the Lateran Palace. In the eighth 
century, most likely during the pontificate of Stephen II (752—7), a document called the Donation of Constantine first 
appeared, in which the freshly converted Constantine hands the temporal rule over "the city of Rome and all the 

no] ] 

provinces, districts, and cities of Italy and the Western regions" to Sylvester and his successors. In the High 
Middle Ages, this document was used and accepted as the basis for the Pope's temporal power, though it was 


denounced as a forgery by Emperor Otto III and lamented as the root of papal worldliness by the poet Dante 

T2R31 T2R41 

Alighieri. The 15th century philologist Lorenzo Valla proved the document was indeed a forgery. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia 

Because of his fame and his being proclaimed Emperor in the territory of Roman Britain, later Britons regarded 
Constantine as a king of their own people. In the 12th century Henry of Huntingdon included a passage in his 


Historia Anglorum that Constantine's mother Helena was a Briton, the daughter of King Cole of Colchester. 
Geoffrey of Monmouth expanded this story in his highly fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae, and account of the 
supposed Kings of Britain from their Trojan origins to the Anglo-Saxon invasion. According to Geoffrey, Cole 
was King of the Britons when Constantius, here a senator, came to Britain. Afraid of the Romans, Cole submitted to 
Roman law so long as he retained his kingship. However, he died only a month later, and Constantius took the throne 
himself, marrying Cole's daughter Helena. They had their son Constantine, who succeeded his father as King of 
Britain before becoming Roman Emperor. 

Historically, this series of events is extremely improbable. Constantius had already left Helena by the time he left for 
Britain. Additionally, no earlier source mentions that Helena was born in Britain, let alone that she was a 
princess. Henry's source for the story is unknown, though it may have been a lost hagiography of Helena. 

Constantine in popular culture 

Constantine was played by Cornel Wilde in the 1962 film Constantine and the Cross. 

He is also slated to be portrayed by Robert Vincent Jones in the upcoming film Nicholas ofMyra. 

Constantine: The Miracle of the Flaming Cross is a romanticised, novelised account of Constantine's life written by 
American author Frank G. Slaughter and published in 1965. It largely drew on Edward Gibbon's history of the 
Roman Empire as well as Eusebius of Caesarea's contemporary account, as indicated in the afterword of the original 

Constantine the Great 289 

Ancient sources 

• Athanasius of Alexandria. 

• Apologia conta Arianos {Defence against the Arians) ca. 349. 

• Atkinson, M., and Archibald Robertson, trans. Apologia Contra Arianos. From Nicene and Post-Nicene 
Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature 


Publishing Co., 1892. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent 
Accessed 14 August 2009. 

• Epistola de Decretis Nicaenae Synodi {Letter on the Decrees of the Council ofNicaea) ca. 352. 

• Newman, John Henry, trans. De Decretis. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 4. 
Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892. Revised 
and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent . Accessed 28 September 2009. 

• Historia Arianorum {History of the Arians) ca. 357. 

• Atkinson, M., and Archibald Robertson, trans. Historia Arianorum. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 
Second Series, Vol. 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature 


Publishing Co., 1892. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent 
Accessed 14 August 2009. 

• Sextus Aurelius Victor, Liber de Caesaribus {Book on the Caesars) ca. 361. 

• Codex Theodosianus {Theodosian Code) 439. 

• Mommsen, T. and Paul M. Meyer, eds. Theodosiani libri XVI cum Constitutionibus Sirmondianis et Leges 


novellae ad Theodosianum pertinentes (in Latin). Berlin: Weidmann, [1905] 1954. Complied by Nicholas 
Palmer, revised by Tony Honore for Oxford Text Archive, 1984. Prepared for online use by R.W.B. Salway, 

T2911 T2921 

1999. Preface, books 1—8. Online at University College London and the University of Grenoble 

Accessed 25 August 2009. 

• Unknown edition (in Latin). Online at . Accessed 15 August 2009. 

• Codex Justinianus {Justinianic Code or Code of Justinian). 

• Scott, Samuel P., trans. The Code of Justinian, in The Civil Law. 17 vols. 1932. Online at the Constitution 
Society [294] . Accessed 14 August 2009. 

• Krueger, Paul, ed. Codex Justinianus (in Latin). 2 vols. Berlin, 1954. Online at the University of Grenoble 
[295] . Accessed 28 September 2009. 

• Epitome de Caesaribus {Epitome on the Caesars) ca. 395. 

• Banchich, Thomas M., trans. A Booklet About the Style of Life and the Manners of the Imperatores. Canisius 
College Translated Texts 1. Buffalo, NY: Canisius College, 2009. Online at De Imperatoribus Romanis 
Accessed 15 August 2009. 

• De Rebus Bellicis {On Military Matters) fourth/fifth century. 

• Eunapius, History from Dexippus first edition ca. 390, second edition ca. 415. [Fragmentary] 

• Eusebius of Caesarea. 

• Historia Ecclesiastica {Church History) first seven books ca. 300, eighth and ninth book ca. 313, tenth book 
ca. 315, epilogue ca. 325. 

• Williamson, G.A., trans. Church History. London: Penguin, 1989. ISBN 97801404453350 

• McGiffert, Arthur Cushman, trans. Church History. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, 
Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890. 


Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent . Accessed 28 September 

Constantine the Great 290 


• Oratio de Laudibus Constantini {Oration in Praise of Constantine, sometimes the Tricennial Oration) 336. 

• Richardson, Ernest Cushing, trans. Oration in Praise of Constantine. From Nicene and Post-Nicene 
Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature 


Publishing Co., 1890. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent 
Accessed 16 August 2009. 

• Vita Constantini {The Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine) ca. 336—39. 

• Richardson, Ernest Cushing, trans. Life of Constantine. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second 

Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 

1890. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent . Accessed 9 June 


• Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine. 2009. Reprint of Bagster edition [1845]. Evolution Publishing. 
ISBN 978-1-889758-93-0. [300] 

• Cameron, Averil and Stuart Hall, trans. Life of Constantine. 1999. Oxford University Press. ISBN 

• Eutropius, Breviarium ab Urbe Condita {Abbreviated History from the City's Founding) ca. 369. 

• Watson, John Henry, trans. Justin, Cornelius Nepos and Eutropius. London: George Bell & Sons, 1886. 
Online at Tertullian . Accessed 28 September 2009. 

• Rufus Festus, Breviarium Festi {The Abbreviated History ofFestus) ca. 370. 

• Banchich, Thomas M., and Jennifer A. Meka, trans. Breviarium of the Accomplishments of the Roman People. 
Canisius College Translated Texts 2. Buffalo, NY: Canisius College, 2001. Online at De Imperatoribus 


Romanis . Accessed 15 August 2009. 

• Jerome, Chronicon {Chronicle) ca. 380. 

• Pearse, Roger, et al., trans. The Chronicle of St. Jerome, in Early Church Fathers: Additional Texts. Tertullian, 
2005. Online at Tertullian [303] . Accessed 14 August 2009. 

• Jordanes, De origine actibusque Getarum [Getica] {The Origin and Deeds of the Goths) ca. 551. 

• Mierow, Charles C, trans. The Origins and Deeds of the Goths. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1915. 

• Online at the University of Calgary . Accessed 28 September 2009. 

• The Gothic History of Jordanes. 2006. Reprint of 1915 edition. Evolution Publishing. ISBN 
978-1-889758-77-0. [305] 

• Lactantius, Liber De Mortibus Persecutorum {Book on the Deaths of the Persecutors) ca. 313—15. 

• Fletcher, William, trans. Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. 
Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature 
Publishing Co., 1886. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent 
Accessed 9 June 2009. 

• Libanius, Orationes {Orations) ca. 362—65. 

• Optatus, Libri VII de Schismate Donatistarum {Seven Books on the Schism of the Donatists) first edition ca. 
365—67, second edition ca. 385. 

• Vassall-Phillips, O.R., trans. The Work of St. Optatus Against the Donatists. London: Longmans, Green, & 


Co., 1917. Transcribed at by Roger Pearse, 2006. Online at Tertullian . Accessed 9 June 

• Edwards, Mark, trans. Optatus: Against the Donatists. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1997. 

• Origo Constantini Imperiatoris {The Lineage of the Emperor Constantine) ca. 340—90. 

Constantine the Great 291 

• Rolfe, J.C., trans. Excerpta Valesiana, in vol. 3 of Rolfe's translation of Ammianus Marcellinus' History. Loeb 
ed. London: Heinemann, 1952. Online at LacusCurtius . Accessed 16 August 2009. 

• Orosius, Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII (Seven Books of History Against the Pagans) ca. 417 '. 

• XII Panegyrici Latini {Twelve Latin Panegyircs) relevant panegyrics dated 289, 29 1 , 297, 298, 307, 310, 311,313 
and 321. 

• Philostorgius, Historia Ecclesiastica {Church History) ca. 433. 

• Walford, Edward, trans. Epitome of the Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, Compiled by Photius, 


Patriarch of Constantinople . London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855. Online at Tertullian . Accessed 15 August 

• Praxagoras of Athens, Historia {History of Constantine the Great) ca. 337. [Fragmentary] 

• Socrates of Constantinople (Socrates Scholasticus), Historia Ecclesiastica {Church History) ca. 443. 

• Zenos, A.C., trans. Ecclesiastical History. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 2. 
Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890. Revised and 
edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent . Accessed 14 August 2009. 

• Sozomen, Historia Ecclesiastica {Church History) ca. 445. 

• Hartranft, Chester D. Ecclesiastical History. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 2. 
Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890. Revised and 
edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent . Accessed 15 August 2009. 

• Theodoret, Historia Ecclesiastica {Church History) ca. 448. 

• Jackson, Blomfield, trans. Ecclesiastical History. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 
3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892. Revised 
and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Online at New Advent . Accessed 15 August 2009. 

• Zosimus, Historia Nova {New History) ca. 500. 


• Unknown, trans. The History of Count Zosimus. London: Green and Champlin, 1814. Online at Tertullian 

Accessed 15 August 2009. [314][315] 

Modern sources 

• Alfoldi, Andrew. The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome. Translated by Harold Mattingly. Oxford: 
Clarendon Press, 1948. 

• Anderson, Perry. Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism. London: Verso, 1981 [1974]. ISBN 0-86091-709-6 

• Arjava, Antii. Women and Law in Late Antiquity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-19-815233-7 

• Armstrong, Gregory T. "Church and State Relations: The Changes Wrought by Constantine." Journal of Bible 
and Religion 32 (1964): 1-7. 

• Armstrong, Gregory T. "Constantine's Churches: Symbol and Structure." The Journal of the Society of 
Architectural Historians 33 (1974): 5—16. 

• Barnes, Timothy D. "Lactantius and Constantine." The Journal of Roman Studies 63 (1973): 29—46. 

• Barnes, Timothy D. Constantine and Eusebius. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981. ISBN 

• Barnes, Timothy D. The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 
1982. ISBN 0783722214 

• Barnes, Timothy D. "Constantine and the Christians of Persia." The Journal of Roman Studies 75 (1985): 

• Bowman, Alan K. "Diocletian and the First Tetrarchy." In The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume XII: The 
Crisis of Empire, edited by Alan Bowman, Averil Cameron, and Peter Garnsey, 67—89. Cambridge University 
Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-30199-8 

Constantine the Great 292 

Cameron, Averil. "The Reign of Constantine, A.D. 306—337." In The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume XII: 

The Crisis of Empire, edited by Alan Bowman, Averil Cameron, and Peter Garnsey, 90—109. Cambridge 

University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-30199-8 

Cameron, Averil and Stuart G Hall. Life of Constantine. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999. Hardcover ISBN 

0-19-814917-4 Paperback ISBN 0-19-814924-7 

Carrie, Jean-Michel & Rousselle, Aline. L'Empire Romain en mutation- des Severes a Constantin, 192—337. 

Paris: Seuil, 1999. ISBN 2-02-025819-6 

Christol, M. & Nony, D. Rome et son Empire. Paris: Hachette, 2003. ISBN 2-01-14-5542-1 

Corcoran, Simon. The Empire of the Tetrarchs: Imperial Pronouncements and Government, AD 284—324. 

Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. ISBN 019815304X 

Curran, John. Pagan City and Christian Capital. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000. Hardcover ISBN 0-19-815278-8 

Paperback ISBN 0-19-925420-6 

Dagron, Gilbert. Naissance d'une Capitate: Constantinople et ses instititutions de 330 a 451. Paris: Presses 

Universitaires de France, 1984. ISBN 2-13-038902-3 

Digeser, Elizabeth DePalma. The Making of A Christian Empire: Lactantius and Rome. London: Cornell 

University Press, 2000. ISBN 0801435943 

Downey, Glanville. "Education in the Christian Roman Empire: Christian and Pagan Theories under Constantine 

and His Successors." Speculum 32 (1957): 48—61. 

Drake, H. A. "What Eusebius Knew: The Genesis of the "Vita Constantini"." Classical Philology 83 (1988): 


Drake, H. A. "Constantine and Consensus." Church History 64 (1995): 1—15. 

Drake, H. A. "Lambs into Lions: Explaining Early Christian Intolerance." Past & Present 153 (1996): 3—36. 

Drake, H. A. Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University 

Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8018-6218-3 

Elliott, T. G "Constantine's Conversion: Do We Really Need It?" Phoenix 41 (1987): 420-438. 

Elliott, T. G "Eusebian Frauds in the "Vita Constantini"." Phoenix 45 (1991): 162-171. 

Elliott, T. G The Christianity of Constantine the Great . Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press, 1996. ISBN 


Eisner, Jas. Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press (Oxford 

History of Art), 1998. ISBN 0-19-284201-3 

Fowden, Garth. "Between Pagans and Christians." The Journal of Roman Studies 78 (1988): 173—182. 

Fowden, Garth. "The Last Days of Constantine: Oppositional Versions and Their Influence." The Journal of 

Roman Studies 84 (1994): 146-170. 

Fubini, Riccardo. "Humanism and Truth: Valla Writes against the Donation of Constantine." Journal of the 

History of Ideas 57:1 (1996): 79-86. 

Gibbon, Edward. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1952 ("Great 

Books" collection), in 2 volumes. 

Goldsworthy, Adrian. How Rome Fell. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009. Hardcover ISBN 


Grant, Robert M. "Religion and Politics at the Council at Nicaea." The Journal of Religion 55 (1975): 1—12. 

Guthrie, Patrick. "The Execution of Crispus." Phoenix 20: 4 (1966): 325—331. 

Harries, Jill. Law and Empire in Late Antiquity . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Hardcover 

ISBN 0-521-41087-8 Paperback ISBN 0-521-42273-6 

Hartley, Elizabeth. Constantine the Great: York's Roman Emperor. York: Lund Humphries, 2004. ISBN 


Heather, Peter J. "Foedera and Foederati of the Fourth Century." In From Roman Provinces to Medieval 

Kingdoms, edited by Thomas F.X. Noble, 292-308. New York: Routledge, 2006. Hardcover ISBN 

Constantine the Great 293 

0-415-32741-5 Paperback ISBN 0-415-32742-3 

Helgeland, John. "Christians and the Roman Army A.D. 173-337." Church History 43 (June 1974): 149-163. 

Jones, A.H.M. Constantine and the Conversion of Europe. Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1978 [1948]. 

Jordan, David P. "Gibbon's "Age of Constantine" and the Fall of Rome" History and Theory 8:1 (1969), 71—96. 

Lenski, Noel, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine. New York: Cambridge University Press, 

2006. Hardcover ISBN 0-521-81838-9 Paperback ISBN 0-521-52157-2 

Lieu, Samuel N.C. and Dominic Montserrat. From Constantine to Julian: Pagan and Byzantine Views; A Source 

History. New York: Routledge, 1996. 

Mackay, Christopher S. "Lactantius and the Succession to Diocletian." Classical Philology 94:2 (1999): 198—209. 

MacMullen, Ramsay. Constantine. New York: Dial Press, 1969. ISBN 0709946856 

MacMullen, Ramsay. Christianizing the Roman Empire A.D. 100^400. New Heaven, CT; London: Yale 

University Press, 1984. ISBN 978-0300036428 

MacMullen, Ramsay. Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries. New Haven: Yale University 

Press, 1997. ISBN 0-300-07148-5 

Mattingly, David. An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. London: Penguin, 2007. ISBN 


Nicholson, Oliver. "Constantine's Vision of the Cross." Vigiliae Christianae 54:3 (2000): 309—323. 

Odahl, Charles Matson. Constantine and the Christian Empire. New York: Routledge, 2004. Hardcover ISBN 

0-415-17485-6 Paperback ISBN 0-415-38655-1 

Pears, Edwin. "The Campaign against Paganism A.D. 324." The English Historical Review 24:93 (1909): 1—17. 

Pohlsander, Hans. "Crispus: Brilliant Career and Tragic End". Historia 33 (1984): 79—106. 

Pohlsander, Hans. The Emperor Constantine. London & New York: Routledge, 2004a. Hardcover ISBN 

0-415-31937-4 Paperback ISBN 0-415-31938-2 

Pohlsander, Hans. "Constantine I (306 — 337 A.D.) ." De Imperatoribus Romanis (2004b). Accessed 16 

December 2007. 

Potter, David S. The Roman Empire at Bay: AD 180-395. New York: Routledge, 2005. Hardcover ISBN 

0-415-10057-7 Paperback ISBN 0-415-10058-5 

Rees, Roger. Layers of Loyalty in Latin Panegyric: AD 289—307. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. 

ISBN 0-19-924918-0 

Rodgers, Barbara Saylor. "The Metamorphosis of Constantine." The Classical Quarterly 39 (1989): 233—246. 

Scheidel, Walter. "The Monetary Systems of the Han and Roman Empires". In Scheidel, ed., Rome and China: 

Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, ISBN 


Seidel, Lisa. "Constantine 'and' Charlemagne." Gesta 15 (1976): 237—239. 

Southern, Pat. The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine. New York: Routledge, 2001. ISBN 


Storch, Rudolph H. "The "Eusebian Constantine"." Church History 40 (1971): 1—15. 

Treadgold, Warren. A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997. 

ISBN 0-8047-2630-2 

Udoh, Fabian E. "Quand notre monde est devenu Chretien", review, Theological Studies, June 2008 

Veyne, Paul. L'Empire Greco-Romain, Paris: Seuil, 2005. ISBN 2-02-057798-4 

Veyne, Paul. Quand notre monde est devenu chretien, Paris: Albin Michel, 2007. ISBN 978-2-226-17609-7 

Warmington, Brian. "Some Constantinian References in Ammianus." In The Late Roman World and its 

Historian: Interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus, edited by Jan Willem Drijvers and David Hunt, 166—177. 

London: Routledge, 1999. ISBN 0-415-20271-X 

Weiss, Peter. "The Vision of Constantine." Translated by A.R. Birley in Journal of Roman Archaeology 16 

(2003): 237-59. 

Constantine the Great 


Wiemer, Hans-Ulrich. "Libanius on Constantine." The Classical Quarterly AA (1994): 511—524. 

Williams, Stephen. Diocletian and the Roman Recovery. New York: Routledge, 1997. ISBN 0-415-91827-8 

Woods, David. "On the Death of the Empress Fausta." Greece & Rome 45 (1988): 70-86. 

Woods, David. "Where Did Constantine I Die?" Journal of Theological Studies 48:2 (1997): 531—535. 

Wright, David H. "The True Face of Constantine the Great." Dumbarton Oaks Papers 41 (1987): 493—507 


[1] Jas Eisner, Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph, 64, fig.32 

[2] Caesar in the west; self-proclaimed Augustus from 309; recognized as such in the east in April 310. 

[3] Undisputed Augustus in the west, senior Augustus in the empire. 

[4] As emperor of whole empire. 

[5] Birth dates vary but most modern historians use c. 272". Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 59. 

[6] In Classical Latin, Constantine's official imperial title was IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS CONSTANTINVS PIVS FELIX INVICTVS 
AVGVSTVS, Imperator Caesar Flavius Constantine Augustus, the pious, the fortunate, the undefeated. After 312, he added MAXIMVS ("the 
greatest"), and after 325 replaced ("undefeated") with VICTOR, as invictus reminded many of Sol Invictus, the Sun God. 

[7] Among Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Christians. The Byzantine liturgical calendar, observed by the Eastern 
Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches of Byzantine rite, lists both Constantine and his mother Helena as saints. Although he is not 
included in the Latin Church's list of saints, which does recognise several other Constantines as saints, he is revered under the title "The Great" 
for his contributions to Christianity. 

[8] With the possible exception of Philip the Arab (r. 244—49). See Philip the Arab and Christianity. I. Shahid, Rome and the Arabs (Washington, 
D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1984), 65-93; H. A. Pohlsander, "Philip the Arab and Christianity", Historia 29:4 (1980): 463-73. 

[9] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 272. 











Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 14; Cameron, 90—91; Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 2—3. 

Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 23—25; Cameron, 90—91; Southern, 169. 

Cameron, 90; Southern, 169. 

Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 14; Corcoran, Empire of the Tetrarchs, 1 ; Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 2—3. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 265—68. 

Drake, "What Eusebius Knew," 21. 

Eusebius, Vita Constantini 1.11; Odahl, 3. 

Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 5; Storch, 145-55. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 265—71; Cameron, 90—92; Cameron and Hall, 4—6; Elliott, "Eusebian Frauds in the "Vita Constantini"", 

Lieu and Montserrat, 39; Odahl, 3. 

Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 26; Lieu and Montserrat, 40; Odahl, 3. 

Lieu and Montserrat, 40; Odahl, 3. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 12—14; Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 24; Mackay, 207; Odahl, 9—10. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 225; Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 28—29; Odahl, 4—6. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 225; Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 26—29; Odahl, 5—6. 

Odahl, 6, 10. 

Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 27—28; Lieu and Montserrat, 2—6; Odahl, 6—7; Warmington, 166—67. 

Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 24; Odahl, 8. 

Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 20—21; Johnson, "Architecture of Empire" (CC), 288—91; Odahl, 11—12. 

Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), 17— 21; Odahl, 11—14. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 3, 39—42; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 17; Odahl, 15; Pohlsander, "Constantine I"; Southern, 169, 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 3; Barnes, New Empire, 39^-2; Elliott, "Constantine's Conversion," 425—6; Elliott, "Eusebian Frauds," 
163; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 17; Jones, 13—14; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 59; Odahl, 16; Pohlsander, Emperor 
Constantine, 14; Rodgers, 238; Wright, 495, 507. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 3; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 59—60; Odahl, 16—17. 

Panegyrici Latini 8(5), 9(4); Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 8.7; Eusebius, Vita Constantini 1.13.3; Barnes, Constantine and 
Eusebius, 13, 290. 

MacMullen, Constantine, 2 1 . 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 3; Barnes, New Empire, 39^-0; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 17; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" 
(CC), 59, 83; Odahl, 16; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 14. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 8—14; Corcoran, "Before Constantine" (CC), 41—54; Odahl, 46—50; Treadgold, 14—15. 

Bowman, 70; Potter, 283; Williams, 49, 65. 

Potter, 283; Williams, 49, 65. 

Constantine the Great 


[39] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 3; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 20; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 59—60; Odahl, 47, 299; 
Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 14. 














Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 7.1; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 13, 290. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 3, 8; Corcoran, "Before Constantine" (CC), 40^-1; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 20; Odahl, 
46- 47; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 8—9, 14; Treadgold, 17. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 8—9; Corcoran, "Before Constantine" (CC), 42^43, 54. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 3; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 59—60; Odahl, 56—7. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 13— 1A; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 60; Odahl, 72, 301. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, Al, 13— 1 A; Fowden, "Between Pagans and Christians," 175—76. 

Constantine, Oratio ad Sanctorum Coetum, 16.2; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 29—30; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 60; 
Odahl, 72-73. 

Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 29; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 61; Odahl, 72—74, 306; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 15. 
Contra: J. Moreau, Lactance: "De la mort des perse'cuteurs" , Sources Chretiennes 39 (1954): 313; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 297 '. 

Constantine, Oratio ad Sanctorum Coetum 25; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 30; Odahl, 73. 

Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 10.6—11; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 21; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 35—36; 
MacMullen, Constantine, 24; Odahl, 67; Potter, 338. 

Eusebius, Vita Constantini 2.49- 52; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 21; Odahl, 67, 73, 304; Potter, 338. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 22—25; MacMullen, Constantine, 24—30; Odahl, 67—69; Potter, 337. 

MacMullen, Constantine, 24—25. 

Oratio ad Sanctorum Coetum 25; Odahl, 73. 

Drake, "The Impact of Constantine on Christianity" (CC), 126; Elliott, "Constantine's Conversion," 425—26. 

Drake, "The Impact of Constantine on Christianity" (CC), 126. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 25—27; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 60; Odahl, 69—72; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 15; 
Potter, 341-42. 

Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 19.2—6; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 26; Potter, 342. 

Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 60—61; Odahl, 72—74; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 15. 

Origo A; Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 24.3—9; Praxagoras fr. 1.2; Aurelius Victor 40.2—3; Epitome de Caesaribus 41.2; Zosimus 
2.8.3; Eusebius, Vita Constantini 1.21; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 61; MacMullen, Constantine, 32; Odahl, 73. 

Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 61. 

Odahl, 75-76. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 27; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 39—40; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 61; MacMullen, 
Constantine, 32; Odahl, 77; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 15—16; Potter, 344—5; Southern, 169—70, 341. 

MacMullen, Constantine, 32. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 27; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 39—40; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 61; Odahl, 77; 
Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 15—16; Potter, 344—45; Southern, 169—70, 341. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 27, 298; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 39; Odahl, 77- 78, 309; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 

Mattingly, 233-34; Southern, 170, 341. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 27—28; Jones, 59; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 61—62; Odahl, 78—79. 

Jones, 59. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 28—29; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 62; Odahl, 79—80. 

Jones, 59; MacMullen, Constantine, 39. 

Treadgold, 28. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 28—29; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 62; Odahl, 79—80; Rees, 160. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 29; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 41; Jones, 59; MacMullen, Constantine, 39; Odahl, 79—80. 

Odahl, 79-80. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 29. 

Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 16—17. 

Odahl, 80-81. 

Odahl, 81. 

MacMullen, Constantine, 39; Odahl, 81-82. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 29; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 41; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 63; MacMullen, 
Constantine, 39-40; Odahl, 81-83. 

Odahl, 82-83. 

Odahl, 82—83. See also: William E. Gwatkin, Jr. Roman Trier (http://penelope.uchicago.edU/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/ secondary/ 
ournals/CJ/29/l/Roman_Trier*.html)." The Classical Journal 29 (1933): 3-12. 

Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 24.9; Barnes, "Lactantius and Constantine", 43^46; Odahl, 85, 310—1 1. 

Odahl, 86. 

Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 28. 

Constantine the Great 296 

86] Rodgers, 236. 

87] Panegyrici Latini 7(6)3.4; Eusebius, Vita Constantini 1.22, qtd. and tr. Odahl, 83; Rodgers, 238. 

] MacMullen, Constantine, 40. 

] Qtd. in MacMullen, Constantine, 40. 
90] Zosimus, 2.9.2; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 62; MacMullen, Constantine, 39. 
91] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 29; Odahl, 86; Potter, 346. 
92] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 30—31; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 41—42; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 62—63; Odahl, 

86-87; Potter, 348^9. 
93] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 31; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 64; Odahl, 87—88; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 15—16. 
94] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 30; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 62—63; Odahl, 86—87. 

95] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 34; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 63—65; Odahl, 89; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 15—16. 
96] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 32; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 64; Odahl, 89, 93. 
97] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 32—34; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 42^43; Jones, 61; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 65; 

Odahl, 90—91; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 17; Potter, 349—50; Treadgold, 29. 
98] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 33; Jones, 61. 
99] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 36—37. 
100] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 34—35; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 43; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 65—66; Odahl, 93; 

Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 17; Potter, 352. 
101] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 34. 

102] Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 43; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 68; Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 20. 
103] Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 45; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 68. 
104] Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 30.1; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 40—41, 305. 
105] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 68. 
106] Potter, 352. 
107] Panegyrici Latini 6(7); Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 35—37, 301; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 66; Odahl, 94—95, 314—15; 

Potter, 352-53. 
108] Panegyrici Latini 6(7)1. Qtd. in Potter, 353. 
109] Panegyrici Latini 6(7). 21. 5. 
110] Virgil, Ecologues 4.10. 

Ill] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 36—37; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 67; Odahl, 95. 
112] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 36—37; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 50—53; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 66—67; Odahl, 

113] Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 31—35; Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 8.16; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 43; Lenski, 

"Reign of Constantine" (CC), 68; Odahl, 95-96, 316. 
1 14] Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 34; Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 8. 17; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 304; Jones, 66. 
115] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 39; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 43^4; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 68; Odahl, 95—96. 
116] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 45; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 69; Odahl, 96. 
117] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 39—40; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 44; Odahl, 96. 
118] Odahl, 96. 

119] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 38; Odahl, 96. 

120] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 37; Curran, 66; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 68; MacMullen, Constantine, 62. 
121] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 37. 
122] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 37—39. 

123] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 38—39; MacMullen, Constantine, 62. 
124] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 40; Curran, 66. 
125] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41. 

126] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41; Elliott, Christianity of Constantine, 44^-5; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 69; Odahl, 96. 
127] Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 8.15.1—2, qtd. and tr. in MacMullen, Constantine, 65. 
128] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41; MacMullen, Constantine, 71. 
129] Panegyrici Latini 12(9)2.5; Curran, 67. 
130] Curran, 67. 

131] MacMullen, Constantine, 70-71. 
132] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41; Odahl, 101. 

133] Panegyrici Latini 12(9)5.1—3; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41; MacMullen, Constantine, 71; Odahl, 101. 
134] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41; Jones, 70; MacMullen, Constantine, 71; Odahl, 101—2. 
135] Panegyrici Latini 12(9)5-6; 4(10)21-24; Jones, 70-71; MacMullen, Constantine, 71; Odahl, 102, 317-18. 
136] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41; Jones, 71; Odahl, 102. 
137] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 41—42; Odahl, 103. 
138] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 42; Jones, 71; MacMullen, Constantine, 71; Odahl, 103. 

Constantine the Great 297 

[139] Jones, 71; MacMullen, Constantine, 71; Odahl, 103. 

[140] Jones, 71; Odahl, 103. 

[141] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 42; Jones, 71; Odahl, 103. 

[142] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 42; Jones, 71; Odahl, 103—4. 

[143] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 42; Jones, 71; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 69; MacMullen, Constantine, 71; Odahl, 104. 

[144] Jones, 71; MacMullen, Constantine, 71. 

[145] MacMullen, Constantine, 71. 

[146] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 42; Curran, 67; Jones, 71. 

[147] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 42; Jones, 71; Odahl, 105. 

[148] Jones, 71. 

[149] Odahl, 104. 

[150] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 42. 

[151] MacMullen, Constantine, 72; Odahl, 107. 

[152] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 42; Curran, 67; Jones, 71—72; Odahl, 107—8. 

[153] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 42—43; MacMullen, Constantine, 78; Odahl, 108. 

[154] Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 44.8; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 43; Curran, 67; Jones, 72; Odahl, 108. 

[155] Odahl, 108. 

[156] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 43; Digeser, 122; Jones, 72; Odahl, 106. 

[157] Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum AAA— 6, tr. J.L. Creed, Lactantius: De Mortibus Persecutorum (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 

1984), qtd. in Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 71. 

[158] Eusebius, Vita Constantini 1.28, tr. Odahl, 105. Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 43; Drake, "Impact of Constantine on Christianity" 

(CC), 113; Odahl, 105. 

[159] Eusebius, Vita Constantini 1.27—29; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 43, 306; Odahl, 105—6, 319—20. 

[160] Drake, "Impact of Constantine on Christianity" (CC), 113. 

[161] Cameron and Hall, 208. 

[162] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 306; MacMullen, Constantine, 73; Odahl, 319. 

[163] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 306; Cameron and Hall, 206—7; Drake, "Impact of Constantine on Christianity" (CC), 114; Nicholson, 


[164] Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 71, citing Roman Imperial Coinage 1 Ticinum 36. 

[165] R. Ross Holloway, Constantine and Rome (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 3, citing Kraft, "Das Silbermedaillon Constantins 

des Grosses mit dem Christusmonogram auf dem Helm," Jahrbuch fur Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 5—6 (1954/55): 151—78. 

[166] Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 71. 

[167] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 43; Curran, 68. 

[168] MacMullen, Constantine, 78. 

[169] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 43; Curran, 68; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 70; MacMullen, Constantine, 78; Odahl, 108. 

[170] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, AA; MacMullen, Constantine, 81; Odahl, 108. 

[171] Cameron, 93; Curran, 71-74; Odahl, 110. 

[172] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, AA; Curran, 72; Jones, 72; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 70; MacMullen, Constantine, 78; 

Odahl, 108. 

[173] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 44—45. 

[174] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, AA; MacMullen, Constantine, 81; Odahl, 111. Cf. also Curran, 72—75. 

[175] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 45; Curran, 72; MacMullen, Constantine, 81; Odahl, 109. 

[176] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 45—46; Odahl, 109. 

[177] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 46; Odahl, 109. 

[178] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 46. 

[179] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, AA. 

[180] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 45—47; Cameron, 93; Curran, 76—77; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 70. 

[181] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 45. 

[182] Curran, 80-83. 

[183] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 47. 

[184] Portrait Head of the Emperor Constantine, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 26.229 ( 


[185] Curran, 83-85. 

[186] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 45; Curran, 76; Odahl, 109. 

[187] Curran, 101. 

[188] Krautheimer, Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romanorum, 5.90, cited in Curran, 93—96. 

[189] Odahl, 109. 

[190] The term is a misnomer as the act of Milan was not an edict, while the subsequent edicts by Licinius — of which the edicts to the provinces 

of Bythinia and Palestine are recorded by Lactantius and Eusebius, respectively — were not issued in Milan. 

Constantine the Great 298 

[191] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 25. 

[192] Drake, "Impact," 121-123. 

[193] Carrie & Rousselle, L'Empire Romain, 229 

[194] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 38—39. 

[195] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 41—42. 

[196] Carrie & Rousselle, LEmpire Romain, 229/230 

[197] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 42—43. 

[198] Scarre, Chronicle of the Roman Emperors, 215. 

[199] MacMullen, Constantine. 

[200] Gilbert Dagron, Naissance d'une Capitate, 24 

[201] Petrus Patricius excerpta Vaticana, 190: Koivoxavxtvoi; EpovAEijaaxo Jipcbxov ev SapotKr] [.lExayaYEtv xa 6T)|xoaia- cpiAobv xe xr]v jioXtv 

EKEtvi^v ODVE^cbt; e^evev „r| eur| Pcb|XT) 2apdiKT| eoxi." 
[202] Ramsey MacMullen, Constantine, Routledge ed., 1987, 149 
[203] Dagron, Naissance d'une Capitate, 15/19 
[204] Sardonyx cameo depicting constantine the great crowned by Constantinople, 4th century AD ( 

exhibitions/Byzantium/sardonyx. asp) at "The Road to Byzantium: Luxury Arts of Antiquity". The Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House (30 

March 2006 - 3 September 2006) 
[205] According to the Reallexikon fiir Antike und Christentum, vol. 164 (Stuttgart: A. Hiersemann, 2005), column 442, there is no evidence for 

the tradition that Constantine officially dubbed the city "New Rome" (Nova Roma or Nea Rhome). Commemorative coins that were issued 

during the 330s already refer to the city as Constantinopolis (Michael Grant, The Climax of Rome (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968), 

133). It is possible that the emperor called the city "Second Rome" (Deutera Rhome) by official decree, as reported by the 5th century church 

historian Socrates of Constantinople. 
[206] Bowder, Diana. The Age of Constantine and Julian. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1978 
[207] See Lactantius, De Mortihus Persecutorum 34—35. 
[208] R. Gerberding and J. H. Moran Cruz, Medieval Worlds (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004) p. 55. Also, Percival J. On the 

Question of Constantine's Conversion to Christianity ('s+ 

Conversion+to+Christianity), Clio History Journal, 2008. 
[209] Peter Brown, The Rise of Christendom 2nd edition (Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2003) p. 60 
[210] R. Gerberding and J. H. Moran Cruz, Medieval Worlds (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004) pp. 55-56. 
[211] Cf. Paul Veyne, Quand notre monde est devenu Chretien, 163. 
[212] Richards, Jeffrey. The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages 476—752 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) 14—15; The 

Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages 476—752 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) 15. 
[213] Richards, Jeffrey. The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages 476—752 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) 16. 
[214] Frend, W.H.C., "The Donatist Church; A Movement of Protest in Roman North Africa," (1952 Oxford), pp.156-162 
[215] Life of Constantine Vol. Ill Ch. XVIII ( by Eusebius; The Epistle of the Emperor 

Constantine, concerning the matters transacted at the council, addressed to those Bishops who were not present ( 

[216] Christol & Nony, Rome et son Empire, 241 
[217] As equestrian order refers to people of equestrian census — thousands of which had no state function — that had an actual position in the 

state bureaucracy: cf. Claude Lepelley, "Fine delle' ordine equestre: le tappe delle'unificazione dela classe dirigente romana nel IV secolo", IN 

Giardina, ed., Societa romana e impero tardoantico, Bari: Laterza, 1986, V.l, quoted by Carrie & Rouselle, p. 660 
[218] Christol & Nony, Rome et son Empire, 247; Carrie & Rousselle LEmpire Romain, 658. 
[219] Carrie & Rousselle LEmpire Romain, 658—59. 
[220] Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae (,+01708& 

r_sortierung=Belegstelle); Carrie & Rousselle LEmpire Romain, 659. 
[221] Carrie & Rousselle, LEmpire Romain, 660. 
[222] Cf. Arnhein, The Senatorial Aristocracy in the Later Roman Empire, quoted by Perry Anderson, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, 

[223] T.D. Barnes, "Statistics and the Conversion of the Roman Aristocracy", Journal of Roman Studies, 85,1995, quoted by Carrie & Rousselle, 

[224] Cf. Paul Veyne, LEmpire Greco-Romain, 49. 
[225] Christol & Nony, Rome et son Empire, 247. 

[226] Walter Scheidel, "The Monetary Systems of the Han and Roman Empires", 174/175 
[227] De Rebus Bellicis, 2. 

[228] Sandro Mazzarino, according to Christol & Nony, Rome et son Empire, 246 
[229] Carrie & Rousselle, LEmpire Romain, 245—246. 
[230] Guthrie, 325-6. 

[231] Guthrie, 326; Woods, "Death of the Empress," 70-72. 
[232] Guthrie, 326; Woods, "Death of the Empress," 72. 

Constantine the Great 299 

[233] Guthrie, 326-27. 

[234] Art. Pass 45; Woods, "Death of the Empress," 71-72. 

[235] Christol & Nony, Rome et son Empire, 237/238 

[236] Cf. Adrian Goldsworthy, How Rome Fell, 189 & 191 

[237] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 250. 

[238] Odahl, 261. 

[239] Eusebius, VC 4.9ff, cited in Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 259. 

[240] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 258—59. See also: Fowden, "Last Days", 146—48, and Wiemer, 515. 

[241] Eusebius, Vita Constantini 4.58—60; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 259. 

[242] Eusebius, Vita Constantini 4.61; Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 259. 

[243] Eusebius, Vita Constantini 4.62. 

[244] Eusebius, Vita Constantini 4.62.4. 

[245] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 75—76; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 82. 

[246] Because he was so old, he could not be submerged in water to be baptised, and therefore, the rules of baptism were changed to what they 

are today, having water placed on the forehead alone. In this period infant baptism, though practiced (usually in circumstances of emergency) 

had not yet become a matter of routine in the west. Thomas M. Finn, Early Christian Baptism and the Catechumenate: East and West Syria 

(Collegeville: The Liturgical Press/Michael Glazier, 1992); Philip Rousseau, "Baptism," in Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Post Classical 

World, ed. G.W. Bowersock, Peter Brown, and Oleg Grabar (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1999). 
[247] Marilena Amerise, 'II battesimo di Costantino il Grande." 

[248] Eusebius, Vita Constantini 4.64; Fowden, "Last Days of Constantine," 147; Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 82. 
[249] Julian, Orations 1.1 8.b. 
[250] Origo Constantini 35. 

[251] Sextus Aurelius Victor, Historiae abbreviatae XLI. 16. 
[252] Eutropius, Breviarium X.8.2. 
[253] Fowden, "Last Days of Constantine," 148-9. 
[254] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 75—76. 
[255] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 71, figure 9. 
[256] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 72. 
[259] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 91. 
[260] Seidel, 237-39. 

[261] Pohlsander, Emperor Constantine, 83—87. 
[262] Lieu, "Constantine in Legendary Literature" (CC), 305. 
[263] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 272—23. 
[264] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 273. 
[265] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 273; Odahl, 281. 
[266] Johannes Leunclavius, Apologia pro Zosimo adversus Evagrii, Nicephori Callisti et aliorum acerbas criminationes (Defence ofZosimus 

against the Unjustified Charges ofEvagrius, Nicephorus Callistus, and Others) (Basel, 1576), cited in Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 273, 

and Odahl, 282. 
[267] Caesar Baronius, Annates Ecclesiastici 3 (Antwerp, 1623), cited in Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 21 A, and Odahl, 282. 
[268] Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 18, cited in Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 21 A, and Odahl, 282. 

See also Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 6—7. 
[269] Gibbon, Decline and Fall, 1.256; David P. Jordan, "Gibbon's Age of Constantine' and the Fall of Rome", History and Theory 8:1 (1969): 

[270] Jacob Burckhardt, Die Zeit Constantins des Grossen (Basel, 1853; revised edition, Leipzig, 1880), cited in Barnes, Constantine and 

Eusebius, 274; Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 7. 
[271] Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 7. 
[272] Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 7-8. 
[273] Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 21 A. 
[274] Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 8. 
[275] Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 8-9; Odahl, 283. 
[276] Odahl, 283; Mark Humphries, "Constantine," review of Constantine and the Christian Empire, by Charles Odahl, Classical Quarterly 56:2 

(2006), 449. 
[277] Averil Cameron, "Introduction," in Constantine: History, Historiography, and Legend, ed. Samuel N.C. Lieu and Dominic Montserrat 

(New York: Routledge, 1998), 3. 
[278] Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 10. 
[279] Quand notre monde est devenu Chretien (;coll), 

Fabian E. Udoh, review, Theological Studies, June 2008 

Constantine the Great 



Lieu, "Constantine in Legendary Literature" (CC), 298—301. 

Constitution Constantini 17, qtd. in Lieu, "Constantine in Legendary Literature" (CC), 301—3. 
Henry Charles Lea, "The 'Donation of Constantine'". The English Historical Review 10: 37 (1895), 86—7. 
Inferno 19.1 15; Paradisio 20.55; cf. De Monarchia 3.10. 
Fubini, 79—86; Lenski, "Introduction" (CC), 6. 
Henry of Huntingdon, Historia Anglorum, Book I, ch. 37. 

Greenway, Diana (Ed.); Henry of Huntingdon (1996). Historia Anglorum: The History of the English People. Oxford University Press. 
. civ. ISBN 0198222246. 
Frank G. Slaughter, Constantine: The Miracle of the Flaming Cross, Doubleday & Company, 1965. 














[300] http://www.evolpub.eom/CRE/CREseries.html#CRE8 





[305] http://www.evolpub.eom/CRE/CREseries.html#CRE2 



[308] http://penelope.uchicago.edU/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Excerpta_Valesiana/l*. html 


[310] http :// 1 . htm 




[314] This translation is not very good. The pagination is broken in several places, there are many typographical errors (including several 

replacements of "Julian" with "Jovian" and "Constantine" with "Constantius"). It is nonetheless the only translation of the Historia Nova in the 
public domain.Roger Pearse, " Preface to the online edition of Zosimus' New History ( 
htm)". 19 November 2002, rev. 20 August 2003. Accessed 15 August 2009. 

[315] This list of primary sources is based principally on the summary in Odahl, 2—11 and further lists in Odahl, 372—76. See also Bruno 
Bleckmann, "Sources for the History of Constantine" (CC), "Sources for the History of Constantine," in The Cambridge Companion to the 
Age of Constantine, trans. Noel Lenski, ed. Noel Lenski (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 14—31; and Noel Lenski, ed. The 
Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 411—17. 


Constantine the Great 301 


Essays from The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine are marked with a "(CC)". 

Further reading 

• Baynes, Norman H. (1930). Constantine the Great and the Christian Church. London: Milford. 

• Burckhardt, Jacob (1949). The Age of Constantine the Great. London: Routledge. 

• Cameron, Averil (1993). The later Roman empire : AD 284-430. London: Fontana Press. ISBN 0006861725. 

• Eadie, John W., ed. (1971). The conversion of Constantine. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 
ISBN 003083645X. 

• Pelikan, Jaroslav (1987). The excellent empire : the fall of Rome and the triumph of the church. San Francisco: 
Harper & Row. ISBN 0062546368. 

External links 

• Firth, John B. "Constantine the Great, the Reorganisation of the Empire and the Triumph of the Church" (http:// 
constantine_DOOR.html) (BTM). 

• Letters of Constantine: Book 1 ( 
html), Book 2 (, & Book 3 
(http://www . . html) 

• Encyclopaedia Britannica, Constantine I ( 

• 12 Byzantine Rulers ( by Lars 
Brownworth of Stony Brook School (grades 7—12). 40 minute audio lecture on Constantine. 

• Constantine I (http://88. 191 1 encyclopedia. org/C/CO/CONSTANTINE_I_. htm) in the 191 1 Encyclopaedia 

• Constantine the Great ( A site about Constantine the Great and his 
bronze coins emphasizing history using coins, with many resources including reverse types issued and reverse 

• House of Constantine bronze coins ( Illustrations and descriptions of coins 
of Constantine the Great and his relatives. 

• BBC North Yorkshire's site on Roman York, Yorkshire and Constantine the Great ( 

• This list of Roman laws of the fourth century ( 
imperial-laws-chart-364) shows laws passed by Constantine I relating to Christianity. 

• Professor Edwin Judge discusses Constantine's legacy for a Centre for Public Christianity vodcast (http://www. 
publicchristianity . org/ Videos/constantinechristendom. html) 

• Constantine's time in York on the 'History of York ( 

Cyaxares the Great 


Cyaxares the Great 

Cyaxares the Great 



625 BC - 585 BC (according to Herodotus) 


Ecbatana (Modern day - Hamadan) 


Syromedia (today Qyzqapan) , according to Igor Diakonov 






Median Dynasty 

Religious beliefs 

Pre-Zoroastrian Iranian religion 

Cyaxares the Great [4] or Hvakhshathra (Old Persian: DDDDDD [5] Uvaxstra} 61 Greek: Kuc^aprn;; r. 625-585 BC), 
the son of King Phraortes, was the first king of Media. According to Herodotus, Cyaxares, grandson of Deioces, 
had a far greater military reputation than his father or grandfather, therefore he is often being described as the first 
official Median King. 

The Oriental Kmpiri^ 

I Lydiiin Empire 
***"*-n Knipirc 

-11 Klnpil-i- 

The rise of Cyaxares 

He was born in the Median capital of Ecbatana, his father 
Phraortes was killed in a battle against the Assyrians, led by 
Ashurbanipal, the king of Neo-Assyria. After his fall the Scythians 
took over. In his early age Cyaxares was seeking for revenge. He 
killed the Scythian leaders and proclaimed himself as King of 
Medes. After throwing of the Scythians, he prepared for war 


against Assyria. Cyaxares reorganized and modernized the 

Median Army, then joined with King Nabopolassar of Babylonia. 

This alliance was formalized through the marriage of Cyaxares 

daughter, Amytis with Nabopolassar's son, Nebuchadnezzar II, the 

king who constructed the Hanging Gardens of Babylon as a present for his Median wife to help with her 

homesickness for the mountainous country of her birth. These allies overthrew the Assyrian Empire and destroyed 

Nineveh in 612 BC. 

Cyaxares Empire at the time of its maximum 

Cyaxares the Great 


Herodotus reported the wars of Cyaxares in Histories 

War against Lydia 

After the victory in Assyria, the Medes conquered Northern 
Mesopotamia, Armenia and the parts of Asia Minor east of the 
Halys River, which was the border established with Lydia after a 
decisive battle between Lydia and Media, the Battle of Halys 
ended with an eclipse on May 28, 585 BC. 

The conflict between Lydia and the Medes was reported by 
Herodotus as follows: 

"A horde of the nomad Scythians at feud with the rest 

withdrew and sought refuge in the land of the Medes: and at 

this time the ruler of the Medes was Cyaxares the son of 

Phraortes, the son of Dei'okes, who at first dealt well with 

these Scythians, being suppliants for his protection; and 

esteeming them very highly he delivered boys to them to 

learn their speech and the art of shooting with the bow. Then 

time went by, and the Scythians used to go out continually to 

the chase and always brought back something; till once it 

happened that they took nothing, and when they returned with empty hands Cyaxares (being, as he showed on 

this occasion, not of an eminently good disposition) dealt with them very harshly and used insult towards 

them. And they, when they had received this treatment from Cyaxares, considering that they had suffered 

indignity, planned to kill and to cut up one of the boys who were being instructed among them, and having 

dressed his flesh as they had been wont to dress the wild animals, to bear it to Cyaxares and give it to him, 

pretending that it was game taken in hunting; and when they had given it, their design was to make their way 

as quickly as possible to Alyattes the son of Sadyattes at Sardis. This then was done; and Cyaxares with the 

guests who ate at his table tasted of that meat, and the Scythians having so done became suppliants for the 

protection of Alyattes. 

After this, since Alyattes would not give up the Scythians when Cyaxares demanded them, there had arisen 
war between the Lydians and the Medes lasting five years; in which years the Medes often discomfited the 
Lydians and the Lydians often discomfited the Medes (and among others they fought also a battle by night): 
and as they still carried on the war with equally balanced fortune, in the sixth year a battle took 

place in which it happened, when the fight had begun, that 
suddenly the day became night. And this change of the day Thales 
the Milesian had foretold to the Ionians laying down as a limit this 
very year in which the change took place. The Lydians however 
and the Medes, when they saw that it had become night instead of 
day, ceased from their fighting and were much more eager both of 
them that peace should be made between them. And they who 
brought about the peace between them were Syennesis the Kilikian 
and Labynetos the Babylonian: these were they who urged also the 
taking of the oath by them, and they brought about an interchange of marriages; for they decided that Alyattes 
should give his daughter Aryenis to Astyages the son of Cyaxares, since without the compulsion of a strong tie 
agreements are apt not to hold strongly together." (Histories, 1.13-14, trans. Macaulay) 

Cyaxares died shortly after the battle and was succeeded by his son, Astyages, who was the maternal grandfather of 
Cyrus the Great through his daughter Mandane of Media. 

Cyaxares the Great 



Qyzqapan is a tomb located in the mountains in Syromedia , 
and is the last resting place of Cyaxares the Great, according to the 
Russian historian Igor Diakonov 


The construction of the tomb, begun after the death of Cyaxares 
the Great in 585 BC. The tomb contains Zoroastrian symbols, 
since the Medes had an ancient religion (a form of pre-Zoroastrian 
Mazdaism or Mithra worshipping) with a priesthood named as 
"Magi". Later and during the reigns of last Median kings the 
reforms of Zarathustra spread in northwestern Iran. 


[1] The tomb of Cyaxares the Great ( 

[2] Video of the tomb of Cyaxares the Great ( 

[3] Gershevitch, Ilya (1984). The Cambridge history of Iran: The Median and 

Achaemenian periods ( 



tomb&f=false). . 
[4] R. Izady, Mehrdad (1991). The Kurds: a concise handbook ( 


ved=0CEYQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=Cyaxares&f=false). . 
[5] Akbarzadeh, D.; A. Yahyanezhad (2006) (in Persian). The Behistun Inscriptions (Old Persian Texts). Khaneye-Farhikhtagan-e Honarhaye 

Sonati. pp. 87. ISBN 964-8499-05-5. 
[6] Kent, Ronald Grubb (1384 AP) (in Persian). Old Persian: Grammar, Text, Glossary, translated into Persian by S. Oryan. pp. 406. 

ISBN 964-421-045-X. 
[8] Gershevitch, Ilya (1984). The Cambridge history of Iran: The Median and Achaemenian periods ( 


ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CD8Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Cyaxares&f=false). . 

Entrance of tomb of Cyaxares the Great, Qyzqapan, 

Further reading 

• Nos ancetres de I'Antiquite (1991), Christian Settipani, p. 152 

External links 

• Cyaxares ( 


• 1/08/tomb-of-cyaxares. html 

Cyrus the Great 


Cyrus the Great 

Cyrus the Great 


King of Persia, King of Aryavarta, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the four 

corners of the World 



559 BC - 530 BC (30 years) 


Anshan, Persis, Iran 
December, 530 BC 

Place of death 

Along the Syr Darya 


Cambyses I 
Cambyses II 


Cassandane of Persia 

Cambyses II 




Unnamed unknown 

Royal House 

Cambyses I 


Mandane of Media or Argoste of Persia 

Cyrus II of Persia (Old Persian: ^T ^ft ^ ^TT X< [4] Kurus (c. 600 BC or 576 BC-530 BC [5] ), commonly known 
as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his 
rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually 
conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, parts of Europe and the Caucasus. From the 

Mediterranean sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest 

empire the world had yet seen. He also pronounced one of the first historically important declarations of human 

rights via the Cyrus Cylinder sometime between 539-530 BCE and was one of the first leaders ever to abolish 

Cyrus the Great 


slavery under his rule. 

The reign of Cyrus the Great lasted between 29 and 31 years. Cyrus built his empire by conquering first the Median 
Empire, then the Lydian Empire and eventually the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Either before or after Babylon, he led 

an expedition into central Asia, which resulted in major campaigns that were described as having brought "into 

subjection every nation without exception". Cyrus did not venture into Egypt, as he himself died in battle, fighting 

the Massagetae along the Syr Darya in December 530 BC. He was succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, who 

managed to add to the empire by conquering Egypt, Nubia, and Cyrenaica during his short rule. 

Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. It is said that in universal history, 

the role of the Achaemenid empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration 

and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. In fact, the administration of the 


empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the works of Cyrus. 
What is sometimes referred to as the Edict of Restoration (actually two edicts) described in the Bible as being made 
by Cyrus the Great left a lasting legacy on the Jewish religion where because of his policies in Babylonia, he is 
referred to by the people of the Jewish faith, as "the anointed of the Lord" or a "Messiah". 

Cyrus the Great is also well recognized for his achievements in human rights, politics, and military strategy, as well 
as his influence on both Eastern and Western civilizations. Having originated from Persis, roughly corresponding to 
the modern Iranian province of Fars, Cyrus has played a crucial role in defining the national identity of modern 
Iran. Cyrus and, indeed, the Achaemenid influence in the ancient world also extended as far as Athens, 

where many Athenians adopted aspects of the Achaemenid Persian culture as their own, in a reciprocal cultural 





The name Cyrus is a Latinized form derived 
from a Greek form of the Old Persian 
Kurus. The name and its meaning has 

been recorded in ancient inscriptions in 
different languages. The ancient Greek 
historians Ctesias and Plutarch noted that 
Cyrus was named from Kuros, the Sun, a 
concept which has been interpreted as 
meaning "like the Sun" by noting its relation 

to the Persian noun for sun, khor, while 

using -vash as a suffix of likeness. Karl 

Hoffmann has suggested a translation based 

on the meaning of an Indo-European-root 

v ^z 



"I am Cyrus the king, an Achaemenid." in Old Persian, Elamite and Aramaic 
languages. It is carved in a column in Pasargadae. 


"to humiliate" and accordingly "Cyrus" means "humiliator of the enemy in verbal contest." In the Persian 
language and specially in Iran, Cyrus's name is spelled as "^fjj> J^jj 5 "" or "Kurose Bozorg" which translates to Cyrus 

the Great. In the Bible, he is known as Koresh (Hebrew: 2)113) 

1 22| 

Cyrus the Great 


Dynastic history 

The Persian domination and kingdom in the Iranian plateau started by 
an extension of the Achaemenid dynasty, who expanded their earlier 
domination possibly from the 9th century BC onward. The eponymous 
founder of this dynasty was Achaemenes (from Old Persian 
Haxamanis). Achaemenids are "descendants of Achaemenes" as Darius 
the Great, the ninth king of the dynasty, traces his genealogy to him 
and declares "for this reason we are called Achaemenids". Achaemenes 
built the state Parsumash in the southwest of Iran and was succeeded 

by Teispes, who took the title "King of Anshan" after seizing Anshan 

city and enlarging his kingdom further to include Pars proper. 

Ancient documents mention that Teispes had a son called Cyrus I, 

who also succeeded his father as "king of Anshan". Cyrus I had a full 

brother whose name is recorded as Ariaramnes 


In 600 BC, Cyrus I was succeeded by his son Cambyses I who reigned 

until 559 BC. Cyrus the Great was a son of Cambyses I, who named 

his son after his father, Cyrus I. There are several inscriptions of 

Cyrus the Great and later kings that refer to Cambyses I as the "great 

king" and "king of Anshan". Among these are some passages in the 

Cyrus cylinder where Cyrus calls himself "son of Cambyses, great 

king, king of Anshan". Another inscription (from CM's) mentions 

Cambyses I as "mighty king" and "an Achaemenian", which according to bulk L ^ UJ of scholarly opinion was engraved 

under Darius and considered as a later forgery by Darius. However Cambyses II's maternal grandfather 


Pharnaspes is named by Herodotus as "an Achaemenian" too. Xenophon's account in Cyropaedia further names 
Cambyses's wife as Mandane and mentions Cambyses as king of Iran (ancient Persia). These agree with Cyrus's own 
inscriptions, as Anshan and Parsa were different names of the same land. These also agree with other non-Iranian 
accounts, except at one point from Herodotus stating that Cambyses was not a king but a "Persian of good 

The four winged guardian figure representing 
Cyrus the Great, a bas-relief found at Pasargadae 

on top of which was once inscribed in three 

languages the sentence "I am Cyrus the king, an 

Achae m en la n." [23] 



., [29] 

However, in some other passages, Herodotus's account is wrong also on the name of the son of 

Chishpish, which he mentions as Cambyses but, according to modern scholars, should be Cyrus I 


The traditional view based on archaeological research and the genealogy given in the Behistun Inscription and by 


Herodotus holds that Cyrus the Great was an Achaemenian. However it has been suggested by M. Waters that 
Cyrus is unrelated to Achaemenes or Darius the Great and that his family was of Teispid and Anshanite origin 

instead of Achaemenid 



Early life 

The best-known date for the birth of Cyrus the Great is either 600-599 BC or 576-575 BC. LJiJ Little is known of his 
early years, as there are only a few sources known to detail that part of his life, and they have been damaged or lost. 

Herodotus's story of Cyrus's early life belongs to a genre of legends in which abandoned children of noble birth, such 
as Oedipus and Romulus and Remus, return to claim their royal positions. Similar to other culture's heroes and 
founders of great empires, folk traditions abound regarding his family background. According to Herodotus, he was 
the grandson of the Median king Astyages and was brought up by humble herding folk. In another version, he was 
presented as the son of a poor family that worked in the Median court. These folk stories are, however, contradicted 
by Cyrus's own testimony, according to which he was preceded as king of Persia by his father, grandfather and 



Cyrus the Great 


After the birth of Cyrus the Great, Astyages had a dream that his Magi interpreted as a sign that his grandson would 
eventually overthrow him. He then ordered his steward Harpagus to kill the infant. Harpagus, morally unable to kill a 

newborn, summoned the Mardian Mitradates (which the historian Nicolaus of Damascus calls Atradates), a royal 

bandit herdsman from the mountainous region bordering the Saspires, and ordered him to leave the baby to die in 

the mountains. Luckily, the herdsman and his wife (whom Herodotus calls Cyno in Greek, and Spaca-o in Median) 

took pity and raised the child as their own, passing off their recently stillborn infant as the murdered Cyrus. 

For the origin of Cyrus the Great's mother, Herodotus identifies Mandane of Media, and Ctesias insists that she is 

fully Persian but gives no name, while Nicolaus gives the name "Argoste" as Atradates's wife; whether this figure 

represents Cyno or Cambyses's unnamed Persian queen has yet to be determined. It is also noted that Strabo has said 

that Cyrus was originally named Agradates by his stepparents; therefore, it is probable that, when reuniting with his 

original family, following the naming customs, Cyrus's father, Cambyses I, names him Cyrus after his grandfather, 

who was Cyrus I. 

Herodotus claims that when Cyrus the Great was ten years old, it was obvious that Cyrus was not a herdsman's son, 

stating that his behavior was too noble. Astyages interviewed the boy and noticed that they resembled each other. 

Astyages ordered Harpagus to explain what he had done with the baby, and, after Harpagus confessed that he had not 

killed the boy, Astyages tricked him into eating his own broiled and chopped up son. Astyages was more lenient 

with Cyrus and allowed him to return to his biological parents, Cambyses and Mandane. While Herodotus's 

description may be a legend, it does give insight into the figures surrounding Cyrus the Great's early life. 

Cyrus the Great had a wife named Cassandane. She was an Achaemenian and daughter of Pharnaspes. From this 

marriage, Cyrus had four children: Cambyses II, Bardiya (Smerdis), Atossa, and another daughter whose name is not 

attested in the ancient sources. Also, Cyrus had a fifth child named Artystone, the sister or half-sister of Atossa, who 

may not have been the daughter of Cassandane. Cyrus the Great had a specially dear love for Cassandane. 

Cassandane also loved Cyrus to the point that on her death bed she is noted as having found it more bitter to leave 

Cyrus, than to depart her life. According to the Chronicle of Nabonidus, when Cassandane died, all the nations of 

Cyrus's empire observed "a great mourning", and, particularly in Babylonia, there was probably even a public 

mourning lasting for six days (identified from 21—26 March 538 BC). Her tomb is suggested to be at Cyrus's capital, 

Pasargadae. There are other accounts suggesting that Cyrus the Great also married a daughter of the Median king 

Astyages, named Amytis. This name may not be the correct one, however. Cyrus probably had married once, after 

the death of Cassandane, to a Median woman in his royal family. Cyrus the Great's son Cambyses II would 

become the king of Persia, and his daughter Atossa would marry Darius the Great and bear him Xerxes I. 

Rise and military campaigns 

Median Empire 

Further information: Persian Revolt, Battle of Hyrba, Battle of the Persian 
Border, and Battle of Pasargadae 

Though his father died in 55 1 BC, Cyrus the Great had already succeeded to 
the throne in 559 BC; however, Cyrus was not yet an independent ruler. Like 
his predecessors, Cyrus had to recognize Median overlordship. 

Cyrus the Great 


During Astyages's reign, the Median 
Empire may have ruled over the 
majority of the Ancient Near East, 
from the Lydian frontier in the west to 
the Parthians and Persians in the east. 

In Herodotus's version, Harpagus, 
seeking vengeance, convinced Cyrus to 
rally the Persian people to revolt 
against their feudal lords, the Medes. 
However, it is likely that both 
Harpagus and Cyrus rebelled due to 

their dissatisfaction with Astyages's 

policies. From the start of the revolt 

in summer 553 BC, with his first 

battles taking place from early 552 BC, Harpagus, with Cyrus, led his armies against the Medes until the capture of 

Ecbatana in 549 BC, effectively conquering the Median Empire. 

While Cyrus the Great seems to have accepted the crown of Media, by 546 BC, he officially assumed the title "King 
of Persia" instead. With Astyages out of power, all of his vassals (including many of Cyrus's relatives) were now 
under his command. His uncle Arsames, who had been the king of the city-state of Parsa under the Medes, therefore 
would have had to give up his throne. However, this transfer of power within the family seems to have been smooth, 

and it is likely that Arsames was still the nominal governor of Parsa, under Cyrus's authority — more of a Prince or a 

Grand Duke than a King. His son, Hystaspes, who was also Cyrus's second cousin, was then made satrap of 

Parthia and Phrygia. Cyrus the Great thus united the twin Achamenid kingdoms of Parsa and Anshan into Persia 

proper. Arsames would live to see his grandson become Darius the Great, Shahanshah of Persia, after the deaths of 

T441 T451 

both of Cyrus's sons. Cyrus's conquest of Media was merely the start of his wars. 

The Median Empire, Lydian Empire, and Neo-Babylonian Empire, prior to Cyrus the 

Great's conquests 

Lydian Empire and Asia Minor 

Further information: Battle of Pteria, Battle of Thymbra, and Siege of Sardis (547 BC) 

The exact dates of the Lydian conquest are unknown, but it must have 
taken place between Cyrus's overthrow of the Median kingdom 
(550 BC) and his conquest of Babylon (539 BC). It was common in the 
past to give 547 BC as the year of the conquest due to some 
interpretations of the Nabonidus Chronicle, but this position is 
currently not much held. The Lydians first attacked the Achaemenid 
Empire's city of Pteria in Cappadocia. Croesus besieged and captured 
the city enslaving its inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Persians invited the 
citizens of Ionia who were part of the Lydian kingdom to revolt against 
their ruler. The offer was rebuffed, and thus Cyrus levied an army and 
marched against the Lydians, increasing his numbers while passing 
through nations in his way. The Battle of Pteria was effectively a 
stalemate, with both sides suffering heavy casualties by nightfall. 
Croesus retreated to Sardis the following morning 

Croesus on the pyre. Attic red-figure amphora, 
500^90 BC, Louvre (G 197) 


While in Sardis, Croesus sent out requests for his allies to send aid to Lydia. However, near the end of the winter, 
before the allies could unite, Cyrus the Great pushed the war into Lydian territory and besieged Croesus in his 
capital, Sardis. Shortly before the final Battle of Thymbra between the two rulers, Harpagus advised Cyrus the Great 

Cyrus the Great 


to place his dromedaries in front of his warriors; the Lydian horses, not used to the dromedaries' smell, would be 
very afraid. The strategy worked; the Lydian cavalry was routed. Cyrus defeated and captured Croesus. Cyrus 


occupied the capital at Sardis, conquering the Lydian kingdom in 546 BC. According to Herodotus, Cyrus the 
Great spared Croesus's life and kept him as an advisor, but this account conflicts with some translations of the 
contemporary Nabonidus Chronicle (the King who was himself subdued by Cyrus the Great after conquest of 
Babylonia), which interpret that the king of Lydia was slain. 

Before returning to the capital, a Lydian named Pactyas was entrusted by Cyrus the Great to send Croesus's treasury 
to Persia. However, soon after Cyrus's departure, Pactyas hired mercenaries and caused an uprising in Sardis, 
revolting against the Persian satrap of Lydia, Tabalus. With recommendations from Croesus that he should turn the 
minds of the Lydian people to luxury, Cyrus sent Mazares, one of his commanders, to subdue the insurrection but 
demanded that Pactyas be returned alive. Upon Mazares's arrival, Pactyas fled to Ionia, where he had hired more 
mercenaries. Mazares marched his troops into the Greek country and subdued the cities of Magnesia and Priene. The 

end of Pactyas is unknown, but after capture, he was probably sent to Cyrus and put to death after a succession of 

* * [49] 


Mazares continued the conquest of Asia Minor but died of unknown causes during his campaign in Ionia. Cyrus sent 
Harpagus to complete Mazares's conquest of Asia Minor. Harpagus captured Lycia, Cilicia and Phoenicia, using the 
technique of building earthworks to breach the walls of besieged cities, a method unknown to the Greeks. He ended 

his conquest of the area in 542 BC and returned to Persia 


Neo-Babylonian Empire 

Further information: Battle of Opis 

By the year 540 BC, Cyrus captured 
Elam (Susiana) and its capital, 
Susa. The Nabonidus Chronicle 

records that, prior to the battle(s), 
Nabonidus had ordered cult statues 
from outlying Babylonian cities to be 
brought into the capital, suggesting 
that the conflict had begun possibly in 

the winter of 540 BC 


Near the 

beginning of October, Cyrus fought the 
Battle of Opis in or near the strategic 
riverside city of Opis on the Tigris, 
north of Babylon. The Babylonian 
army was routed, and on October 10, 
Sippar was seized without a battle, with little to no resistance from the populace. LJiJ It is probable that Cyrus 

engaged in negotiations with the Babylonian generals to obtain a compromise on their part and therefore avoid an 

armed confrontation. Nabonidus was staying in the city at the time and soon fled to the capital, Babylon, which 

Superimposed on modern borders, the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus's rule extended 

approximately from Turkey, Israel, Georgia and Arabia in the west to Kazakhstan, 

Kyrgyzstan, the Indus River (Pakistan) and Oman in the east. Persia became the largest 

empire the world had yet seen. 


he had not visited in years 


Two days later, on October 7 (proleptic Gregorian calendar), Gubaru's troops entered Babylon, again without any 
resistance from the Babylonian armies, and detained Nabonidus. Herodotus explains that to accomplish this feat, 
the Persians, using a basin dug earlier by the Babylonian queen Nitokris to protect Babylon against Median attacks, 
diverted the Euphrates river into a canal so that the water level dropped "to the height of the middle of a man's 

thigh", which allowed the invading forces to march directly through the river bed to enter at night. On October 

29, Cyrus himself entered the city of Babylon and detained Nabonidus. 

Cyrus the Great 


Prior to Cyrus's invasion of Babylon, the Neo-Baby Ionian Empire had conquered many kingdoms. In addition to 
Babylonia itself, Cyrus probably incorporated its subnational entities into his Empire, including Syria, Judea, and 


Arabia Petraea, although there is no direct evidence of this fact. 

After taking Babylon, Cyrus the Great proclaimed himself "king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the 

four corners of the world" in the famous Cyrus cylinder, an inscription deposited in the foundations of the Esagila 

temple dedicated to the chief Babylonian god, Marduk. The text of the cylinder denounces Nabonidus as impious 

and portrays the victorious Cyrus pleasing the god Marduk. It describes how Cyrus had improved the lives of the 

citizens of Babylonia, repatriated displaced peoples and restored temples and cult sanctuaries. Although some have 

asserted that the cylinder represents a form of human rights charter, historians generally portray it in the context of a 

long-standing Mesopotamian tradition of new rulers beginning their reigns with declarations of reforms. 

Cyrus the Great's dominions comprised the largest empire the world had ever seen. At the end of Cyrus's rule, the 

Achaemenid Empire stretched from Asia Minor in the west to the northwestern areas of India in the east 



The details of Cyrus's death vary by account. The account of 

Herodotus from his Histories provides the second-longest detail, in 

which Cyrus met his fate in a fierce battle with the Massagetae, a tribe 

from the southern deserts of Khwarezm and Kyzyl Kum in the 

southernmost portion of the steppe regions of modern-day Kazakhstan 

and Uzbekistan, following the advice of Croesus to attack them in their 

own territory. The Massagetae were related to the Scythians in their 

dress and mode of living; they fought on horseback and on foot. In 

order to acquire her realm, Cyrus first sent an offer of marriage to their 

ruler, Tomyris, a proposal she rejected. He then commenced his 

attempt to take Massagetae territory by force, beginning by building 

bridges and towered war boats along his side of the river Jaxartes, or 

Syr Darya, which separated them. Sending him a warning to cease his 

encroachment in which she stated she expected he would disregard 

anyway, Tomyris challenged him to meet her forces in honorable 

warfare, inviting him to a location in her country a day's march from 

the river, where their two armies would formally engage each other. He 

accepted her offer, but, learning that the Massagetae were unfamiliar 

with wine and its intoxicating effects, he set up and then left camp with plenty of it behind, taking his best soldiers 

with him and leaving the least capable ones. The general of Tomyris's army, who was also her son Spargapises, and a 

third of the Massagetian troops killed the group Cyrus had left there and, finding the camp well stocked with food 

and the wine, unwittingly drank themselves into inebriation, diminishing their capability to defend themselves, when 

they were then overtaken by a surprise attack. They were successfully defeated, and, although he was taken prisoner, 

Spargapises committed suicide once he regained sobriety. Upon learning of what had transpired, Tomyris denounced 

Cyrus's tactics as underhanded and swore vengeance, leading a second wave of troops into battle herself. Cyrus the 

Great was ultimately killed, and his forces suffered massive casualties in what Herodotus referred to as the fiercest 

battle of his career and the ancient world. When it was over, Tomyris ordered the body of Cyrus brought to her, then 

decapitated him and dipped his head in a vessel of blood in a symbolic gesture of revenge for his bloodlust and the 

death of her son. However, some scholars question this version, mostly because Herodotus admits this event 

was one of many versions of Cyrus's death that he heard from a supposedly reliable source who told him no one was 

Queen Tomrys receiving the head of Cyrus 

there to see the aftermath 


Cyrus the Great 


Herodotus, also recounts that Cyrus saw in his sleep the oldest son of Hystaspes (Darius I) with wings upon his 
shoulders, shadowing with the one wing Asia, and with the other wing Europe. Iranologist, Ilya Gershevitch 
explains this statement by Herodotus and its connection with the four winged bas-relief figure of Cyrus the Great in 
the following way: 

"Herodotus, therefore as I surmise, may have known of the close connection, between this type of 
winged figure, and the image of the Iranian majesty, which he associated with a dream 
prognosticating, the king's death, before his last, fatal campaign across the Oxus." 

Ctesias, in his Persica, has the longest account, which says Cyrus met his death while putting down resistance from 
the Derbices infantry, aided by other Scythian archers and cavalry, plus Indians and their elephants. According to 
him, this event took place northeast of the headwaters of the Syr Darya. An alternative account from Xenophon's 
Cyropaedia contradicts the others, claiming that Cyrus died peaceably at his capital. The final version of Cyrus's 
death comes from Berossus, who only reports that Cyrus met his death while warring against the Dahae archers 

northwest of the headwaters of the Syr Darya 



Cyrus the Great's remains were interred in his capital city of 
Pasargadae, where today a limestone tomb (built around 540-530 
BCE ) still exists which many believe to be his. Both Strabo and 
Arrian give nearly equal descriptions of the tomb, based on the 
eyewitness report of Aristobulus of Cassandreia, who at the request of 
Alexander the Great visited the tomb two times. Though the city 
itself is now in ruins, the burial place of Cyrus the Great has remained 
largely intact; and the tomb has been partially restored to counter its 
natural deterioration over the years. According to Plutarch, his epitaph 

Tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae, 
World Heritage Site 

Iran, a UNESCO 

O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know you will come, I am Cyrus who won the Persians their empire. Do not 

therefore begrudge me this bit of earth that covers my bones. 

Cuneiform evidence from Babylon proves that Cyrus died around December 530 BC, and that his son Cambyses 
II had become king. Cambyses continued his father's policy of expansion, and managed to capture Egypt for the 
Empire, but soon died after only seven years of rule. He was succeeded either by Cyrus's other son Bardiya or an 
impostor posing as Bardiya, who became the sole ruler of Persia for seven months, until he was killed by Darius the 

The translated ancient Roman and Greek accounts give a vivid description of the tomb both geometrically and 
aesthetically; The tomb's geometric shape has changed little over the years, still maintaining a large stone of 
quadrangular form at the base, followed by a pyramidal succession of smaller rectangular stones, until after a few 
slabs, the structure is curtailed by an edifice, with an arched roof composed of a pyramidal shaped stone, and a small 


opening or window on the side, where the slenderst man could barely squeeze through. 

Within this edifice was a golden coffin, resting on a table with golden supports, inside of which the body of Cyrus 
the Great was interred. Upon his resting place, was a covering of tapestry and drapes made from the best available 
Babylonian materials, utilizing fine Median worksmanship; below his bed was a fine red carpet, covering the narrow 


rectangular area of his tomb. Translated Greek accounts describe the tomb as having been placed in the fertile 

Cyrus the Great 


Pasargadae gardens, surrounded by trees and ornamental shrubs, with a group of Achaemenian protectors called the 

[72] [731 

"Magi", stationed nearby to protect the edifice from theft or damage. 

Years later, in the ensuing chaos created by Alexander the Great's invasion of Persia and after the defeat of Darius 
III, Cyrus the Great's tomb was broken into and most of its luxuries were looted. When Alexander reached the tomb, 
he was horrified by the manner in which the tomb was treated, and questioned the Magi and put them to court. On 

some accounts, Alexander's decision to put the Magi on trial was more about his attempt to undermine their 

influence and his show of power in his newly conquered empire, than a concern for Cyrus's tomb. Regardless, 

Alexander the Great ordered Aristobulus to improve the tomb's condition and restore its interior. Despite his 

admiration for Cyrus the Great, and his attempts at renovation of his tomb, Alexander would eventually ransack 

Persepolis, the opulent city that Cyrus had helped build, and order its burning in 330 B.C. 

The edifice has survived the test of time, through invasions, internal divides, successive empires, regime changes and 
revolutions. The last prominent Persian figure to bring attention to the tomb was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (Shah of 
Iran) the last official monarch of Persia, during his celebrations of 2,500 years of monarchy. Just as Alexander the 
Great before him, the Shah of Iran wanted to appeal to Cyrus's legacy to legitimize his own rule by extension. 

After the Iranian revolution, the tomb of Cyrus the Great survived the initial chaos and vandalism propagated by the 
Islamic revolutionary hardliners who equated Persian imperial historical artifacts with the late Shah of Iran. There 
are allegations of the tomb being in danger of damage from the construction of the Sivand Dam on river Polvar 
(located in the province of Pars) and flooding, but there is no official acknowledgement of this claim. This has 
nonetheless, caused a petition to be drafted to the U.N. demanding protection of this historical entity. United Nations 

recognizes the tomb of Cyrus the Great and Pasargadae as a UNESCO World Heritage site 



In scope and extent his achievements ranked far above that of the 

Macedonian king, 

Alexander who was to demolish the empire in the 320s but fail 

to provide 

any stable alternative. 

— Charles Freeman in 'The Greek Achievement 

The achievements of Cyrus the Great throughout antiquity is well 
reflected in the way he is remembered today. His own nation, the 
Iranians, have regarded him as "The Father", the very title that had 
been used during the time of Cyrus himself, by the many nations that 


he conquered, as according to Xenophon: 

Cyrus the Great liberated the Hebrew exiles to 

resettle and rebuild Jerusalem, earning him an 

honored place in Judaism. 

"And those who were subject to him, he treated with esteem and regard, as if they were his own children, while his subjects themselves 
respected Cyrus as their 'Father' ... What other man but 'Cyrus', after having overturned an empire, ever died with the title of 'The Father' 
from the people whom he had brought under his power? For it is plain fact that this is a name for one that bestows, rather than for one that 
takes away! " 

The Babylonians regarded him as "The Liberator". After his conquest of Babylon, followed Cyrus's help for the 
return of Jews; for this, Cyrus is addressed in the Jewish Tanakh as the "Lord's Messiah". Glorified by Ezra, and by 

Cyrus the Great 314 

Isaiah, Cyrus is the one to whom "Yahweh, the God of heaven" has given "all the Kingdoms of the earth". 

Cyrus was distinguished equally as a statesman and as a soldier. By pursuing a policy of generosity instead of 
repression, and by favoring local religions, he was able to make his newly conquered subjects into enthusiastic 
supporters. Due in part to the political infrastructure he created, the Achaemenid empire endured long after his 

The rise of Persia under Cyrus's rule had a profound impact on the course of world history. Iranian philosophy, 
literature and religion all played dominant roles in world events for the next millennia. Despite the Islamic conquest 
of Persia in the 7th century CE by the Islamic Caliphate, Persia continued to exercise enormous influence in the 
Middle East during the Islamic Golden Age, and was particularly instrumental in the growth and expansion of Islam. 

Many of the Iranian dynasties following the Achaemenid empire and their kings saw themselves as the heirs to 

roi ][QO] 

Cyrus the Great and have claimed to continue the line begun by Cyrus. However there are different opinions 

among scholars whether this is also the case for the Sassanid Dynasty. 

Even today many consider Cyrus greater than Alexander in his accomplishment. In fact Alexander the Great was 
himself infatuated with and admired Cyrus the Great, from an early age reading Xenophon's Cyropaedia, which 
described Cyrus's heroism in battle and governance and his abilities as a king and a legislator. Alexander 

respected Cyrus to the point, that during his visit to Pasargadae, he paid significant homage to the memory of Cyrus 
the Great by ordering Aristobulus to decorate the 


According to Professor Richard Nelson Frye: 

the Great by ordering Aristobulus to decorate the interior of the sepulchral chamber of his tomb. 

It is a testimony to the capability of the founder of the Achaemenian empire that it continued to expand after his death and lasted for more than 
two centuries. But Cyrus was not only a great conqueror and administrator; he held a place in the minds of the Persian people similar to that of 
Romulus and Remus in Rome or Moses for the Israelites. His saga follows in many details the stories of hero and conquerors from elsewhere 
in the ancient world. The manner in which the baby Cyrus was given to a shepherd to raise is reminiscent of Moses in the bulrushes in Egypt, 
and the overthrow of his tyrannical grandfather has echoes in other myths and legends. There is no doubt that the Cyrus saga arose early 
among the Persians and was known to the Greeks. The sentiments of esteem or even awe in which Persians held him were transmitted to the 
Greeks, and it was no accident that Xenophon chose Cyrus to be the model of a ruler for the lessons he wished to impart to his fellow Greeks. 

In short, the figure of Cyrus has survived throughout history as more than a great man who founded an empire. He became the epitome of the 
great qualities expected of a ruler in antiquity, and he assumed heroic features as a conqueror who was tolerant and magnanimous as well as 
brave and daring. His personality as seen by the Greeks influenced them and Alexander the Great, and, as the tradition was transmitted by the 
Romans, may be considered to influence our thinking even now. In the year 1971, Iran celebrated the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of 
the monarchy by Cyrus. 

On another account, Professor Patrick Hunt states: 

If you are looking at the greatest personages in History who have affected the World, 'Cyrus the Great' is one of the few who deserves that 
epithet, the one who deserves to be called 'the Great'. The empire over which Cyrus ruled was the largest the Ancient World had ever seen and 
may be to this day the largest empire ever. 

Cyrus the Great 


Dhul-Qarnayn is thought to refer to 

Cyrus by some Qur'anic 


Religion and philosophy 

Although there is no doubt about the influence of Zarathushtra's teachings on 
Cyrus's acts and policies, so far there has not been a clear evidence indicating 
that Cyrus practiced a specific religion; however, his liberal and tolerant views 

towards other religions have made some scholars consider Cyrus a Zoroastrian 

king. The religious policies of Cyrus are well documented in Babylonian texts 

as well as Jewish sources and the historians accounts. Cyrus initiated a general 

policy that can be described as a policy of permitting religious freedom 

throughout his vast empire. He brought peace to the Babylonians and is said to 

have kept his army away from the temples and restored the statues of the 

Babylonian gods to their sanctuaries. Another example of his religion, as 

evidenced by the Cyrus cylinder (see below), 

'u-mi-Sa-am ma- h ar iluBel u iluNabu S a a-ra-ku ume-ia li-ta-mu-u 
lit-taS-ka-ru a-ma-a-ta du-un-ki-ia u a-na iluMarduk beli-ia 
li-iq-bu-u Sa mKu-ra-aS Sarri pa-li- hi-ka u mKa-am-bu-zi-ia mari- 
Su' (Cylinder,Akkadian language line:35) 

'pray daily before Bel and Nabu for long life for me, and may they 
speak a gracious word for me and say to Marduk, my lord, "May 
Cyrus, the king who worships you, and Cambyses, his son,' 
(Cylinder,English Translation line: 35) 

His religious policy was his treatment of the Jews during their exile in Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed 
Jerusalem. The Jewish Bible's Ketuvim ends in Second Chronicles with the decree of Cyrus, which returned the 
exiles to the Promised Land from Babylon along with a commission to rebuild the temple. 

Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth hath Yahweh, the God of heaven, given 
me; and He hath charged me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is 
among you of all His people — may Yahweh, his God, be with him — let him go there.' (2 Chronicles 

This edict is also fully reproduced in the Book of Ezra. 

"In the first year of King Cyrus, Cyrus the king issued a decree: 'Concerning the house of God at 
Jerusalem, let the temple, the place where sacrifices are offered, be rebuilt and let its foundations be 
retained, its height being 60 cubits and its width 60 cubits; with three layers of huge stones and one layer 
of timbers. And let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. Also let the gold and silver utensils of the 
house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be 
returned and brought to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; and you shall put them in the house of 
God.' (Ezra 6:3-5) 

As a result of Cyrus's policies, the Jews honored him as a dignified and righteous king. He is the only Gentile to be 
designated as Messiah, a divinely appointed leader, in the Tanakh (Isaiah 45:1-6). Isaiah 45:13: "I will raise up Cyrus 
in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a 
price or reward, says Yahweh Almighty." As the text suggests, Cyrus did ultimately release the nation of Israel from 
its exile without compensation or tribute. Traditionally, the entire book of Isaiah is believed to pre-date the rule of 
Cyrus by about 120 years. These particular passages (Isaiah 40-55, often referred to as Deutero-Isaiah) are believed 
by most modern critical scholars to have been added by another author toward the end of the Babylonian exile (ca. 


536 BC). Whereas Isaiah 1-39 (referred to as Proto-Isaiah) saw the destruction of Israel as imminent, and the 
restoration in the future, Deutero-Isaiah speaks of the destruction in the past (Isa 42:24-25), and the restoration as 
imminent (Isa 42:1-9). Notice, for example, the change in temporal perspective from (Isa 39:6-7), where the 

Cyrus the Great 316 

Babylonian Captivity is cast far in the future, to (Isa 43:14), where the Israelites are spoken of as already in 
Babylon. [89] 

Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, relates the traditional view of the Jews regarding the prediction of Cyrus 
in Isaiah in his Antiquities of the Jews, book 11, chapter 1: 

"In the first year of the reign of Cyrus, which was the seventieth from the day that our people were removed out of their own land into 
Babylon, God commiserated the captivity and calamity of these poor people, according as he had foretold to them by Jeremiah the prophet, 
before the destruction of the city, that after they had served Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity, and after they had undergone that servitude 
seventy years, he would restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should build their temple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity. 
And these things God did afford them; for he stirred up the mind of Cyrus, and made him write this throughout all Asia: "Thus saith Cyrus the 
king: Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites 
worship: for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets, and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country ofjudea." This was 
known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him 
in a secret vision: "My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own 
land, and build my temple. " This was foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when 
Cyrus read this, and admired the Divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written; so he called for 
the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their 
city Jerusalem, and the temple of God, for that he would be their assistant, and that he would write to the rulers and governors that were in 
the neighborhood of their country ofjudea, that they should contribute to them gold and silver for the building of the temple, and besides that, 
beasts for their sacrifices. " 

Cyrus was praised in the Tanakh (Isaiah 45:1-6 and Ezra 1:1-11) for the freeing of slaves, humanitarian equality 

and costly reparations he made. However, there was Jewish criticism of him after he was lied to by the Cuthites, who 

wanted to halt the building of the Second Temple. They accused the Jews of conspiring to rebel, so Cyrus in turn 

[91] [92] 
stopped the construction, which would not be completed until 515 BC, during the reign of Darius I. According 

to the Bible it was King Artaxerxes who was convinced to stop the construction of the temple in Jerusalem. (Ezra 


Some contemporary Muslim scholars have suggested that the Qur'anic figure of Dhul-Qarnayn is Cyrus the Great. 
This theory was proposed by Sunni scholar Abul Kalam Azad and endorsed by Shi'a scholars Allameh Tabatabaei, in 
his Tafsir al-Mizan and Makarem Shirazi. 

Cyrus the Great